Dmitry Bivol can take a big step towards accomplishing his goal of becoming the undisputed ruler of the light heavyweight division this weekend.
The WBA champion is in Saudi Arabia where he will take on Lyndon Arthur as part of the history making ‘Day of Reckoning’ card.
Bivol (21-0, 11 KO’s) takes every fight seriously but given the scale of the event and the knowledge that Saudi Arabia currently possesses the financial power and desire to makes his lifelong dreams come true, a victory this weekend could prove to be a pivotal moment in his career.
Rumors about a fight between Bivol and Arthur began when the British fighter beat Braian Suarez for the IBO title in September.
Arthur always knew that a meeting with Bivol would be life changing for him but Bivol also seems fully engaged by the fight.
“Yeah, it’s a very exciting opponent for me because I really want to fight him and Saudi Arabia made this fight happen. I’m glad that he’s a world champion. The IBO world title is a little bit more motivation for me to fight him,” Bivol told BoxingScene.com.
“He has a good style. He’s a very schooled boxer. He has a good jab and a good right counterpunch, straight and uppercut. It’s a very good challenge for me to check my skills against such a good boxer.
This week, Bivol will be inundated with questions about a potential fight with his rival and WBO, IBF and WBC champion, Artur Beterbiev, his former opponent, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, the event, his opinions on other fighters on the show, Saudi Arabia as a holiday destination. Everything except Lyndon Arthur.
Bivol is professional enough to know that throughout it all, he needs to keep Arthur at the forefront of his mind. The Mancunian is in Saudi Arabia as a massive underdog but has the opportunity to change his own life forever.
“First of all I have to not hear how people are talking about my opponent,” he said. “I have to be focused and set my mentality like this is the hardest opponent of my life. I have to not be relaxed because I have to treat him very seriously.
“He’s a fighter. He isn’t famous but he’s a good boxer.”
If Bivol comes through the fight with Arthur, talk about a fight for the undisputed title with Beterbiev will intensify and there will be speculation about a rematch with ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for as long as both fighters remain active.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if – as an accomplished champion in his own right – Bivol grew tired of constantly being asked about other fighters but Bivol is a fan of Sugar Ray Leonard, who’s storied rivalries with Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvelous Marvin Hagler elevated him and his legend to even greater levels.
He understand the value of being linked with big name rivals but, on the other hand, Bivol isn’t particularly bothered about following in his hero’s footsteps and getting involved in a series of rematches and trilogies.
“No, I like it to be honest,” he said. “I could say that even though Floyd Mayweather is a great fighter, for many years people were asking about a fight with Manny Pacquiao. It’s fine. It’s good that people want to talk about me like this.
“To be honest, I like to fight once and call the subject but if people want to see me fight people again, of course. I want them to enjoy my fights.”
Bivol has always been fueled by the ambition of becoming the undisputed champion of the 175lb division. Beating Lyndon Arthur would add another small fraction of the title to Bivol’s trophy cabinet but with him having been out of the ring for over a year, it would also be the perfect preparation for a monumental fight with Beterbiev.
If the Russian-Canadian can successfully defend his titles against former super middleweight champion, Callum Smith, in January, the boxing world may finally get the unification fight it has waited so long for.
It is six years since Bivol beat Trent Broadhurst for the WBA light heavyweight title but despite making ten defenses of his title, he has been unable to tempt any other champions into the ring. Bivol has travelled a long road but the destination is finally coming into sight.
“If I say it like this, yes it has been a little complicated but this is my way,” he said. “This is what God gave me and I have to be thankful that I have this way. It’s not complicated to be honest if we see it from another angle.
“The goal of this fight first of all is that it is another step towards my goal. Every time I go to the ring, I think this is another step. Second, I’m motivated because he has a belt. Yes, it is the IBO title, but I like the fact that he has a title. Also, I haven’t fought for one year. I need to shake my ring rust in this fight. I want to see my skills against his technique.”