Dmitry Bivol stays on June 1 card, will face Malik Zinad

Fighting

Dmitry Bivol will still fight on June 1, he just won’t be facing Artur Beterbiev, who withdrew from the date this past week.

Instead of an undisputed championship fight — which is still going to happen, just at a later date — Bivol will defend his WBA light heavyweight title against Malik Zinad.

Bivol vs Zinad won’t be the show’s main event. The event still features the Queensberry vs Matchroom “5v5” series, and will now be headlined by Deontay Wilder vs Zhilei Zhang.

Bivol (22-0, 11 KO) simply doesn’t want to sit out longer waiting on Beterbiev, and realistically, it’s probably the smart choice. Beterbiev’s not getting any younger and is injury-prone; if something else happens, Bivol, 33, could wind up waiting quite a while.

The Russian last fought in Dec. 2023, beating Lyndon Arthur in Riyadh, but hadn’t for in 13 months prior to that, and has fought just twice since his 2022 win over Canelo Alvarez, which really should have resulted in greater career momentum.

The 30-year-old Zinad (22-0, 16 KO) is originally from Libya, now fighting out of Malta, and beat Jerome Pampellone in an IBF eliminator on Apr. 24 in Australia, winning a majority decision on the road. Instead of going the IBF route, though, Zinad finds himself with a fantastic opportunity in short order, and will spin right back around to face Bivol.

The win over Pampellone is the best of his career, but he’s done the jobs asked of him and has emerged as a potential serious contender in a division that has use for fresh blood.

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