Last night boxing promoter announced that WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11) [дмитрий бивол] would finally get the huge fight his career has been needing, as he will be return on May 7th to take on Mexican megastar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (57-1-2, 39), with Bivol seeking to defend his title against the undisputed Super Middleweight champion.
The bout, one of the most interesting bouts that could be made at 175lbs, gives both men a chance to prove something. It gives Canelo a great chance to become a 2-time Light Heavyweight champion, proving that he really is a pound for pound great, and modern legend. As for Bivol it gives him a massive chance to show what he's capable of against a legitimately well regarded opponent, a stark change from his recent run against under-whelming challengers like Lenin Castillo, Craig Richards and Umar Salamov.
Whilst the bout is a genuinely interesting one, pitting the skills, body punching and under-rated defense of Canelo against the methodical approach and understated skills of Bivol, the biggest talking point after the fight was announced was, sadly, not the fight it's self. Which is a very good fight but not a headline grabbing super fight, or even a fight that looks likely to be a major success. In fact the fight might be the best out there for Canelo in terms of quality of opponent, but not in terms of marketability, or star power.
Despite Bivol being something of a dull fighter to watch, who last fought in the US in 2019, and has had a string of dreary bouts, with the ones against Castillo, Richards and Salamov all being under-whelming displays from the Kyrgyzstan born champion, this bout will be the first that sees DAZN break their long standing promise of no PPV. In fact the bout will only be available on PPV in USA and Canada, a decision that has seen a lot of fans turn on DAZN, with even DAZN subscribers being charged a 1-off fee for the show. Something they repeatedly promised not to do.
Whilst the fight is a good one, we're not sure how many DAZN subscribers in the PPV territories will be willing to pull out a further $59.99 for the fight, though that is a discount compared to those who aren't subscribers. In many ways however this is a move towards something bigger with DAZN, and a clear sign that their model isn't going to work in the long term.
After weeks of waiting to see who WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11) [дмитрий бивол] would be defending his belt against on October 12th, we finally saw the waiting end today.
Just moments ago was revealed that the unbeaten Kyrgyzstan born Russian will be up against Dominican foe Lenin Castillo (20-2-1, 15).
The talented Bivol has been on an impressive run in recent years, beating the likes of Sullivan Barrera, Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal and Joe Smith Jr, but hasn't been able to get one of the division's other top fighters in the ring with him. This has seen him miss out on potential fights against the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Artur Beterbiev and Oleksandr Gvozdyk, which would enhance his reputation and standing.
On paper Castillo isn't a great opponent. His profile is less than that of Bivol's recent competition and he's not got any sort of name value. He does however pose a relatively difficult for Bivol, The 31 year has never been stopped, and dropped Marcus Browne just over a year ago, before Browne won, and lost, the WBC title. He failed to get the win over Browne, but did give Browne some worries. His only other loss was a close decision to the then 10-0 Joseph Williams. Interestingly Castillo does appear to be a fighter who has developed his power since stepping up in competition, with his last 8 wins coming inside the distance.
This might not be the big profile bout Bivol and his fans want, but is another solid test for Bivol as he continues to pursue a career defining fight.
Bivol and Smith make weight!
Later today WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (15-0, 11) [дмитрий бивол] will defend his title against Joe Smith Jr (24-2, 20). Yesterday the two fighters took part in their weigh in and both men made weight.
On the scales both men were well under the limit, with Bivol hitting the scales at 173½lbs whilst Smith was 173lbs.
For Bivol the weight was the lightest weight of his career, and could be a sign that he is serious about dropping down in weight to pursue bouts at Super Middleweight. Smith on the other hand matched the weight that he was when he scores his opening round win over Andrzej Fonfara in 2016.
Uzbek fighter Israil Madrimov (1-0, 1) [Isroil Madrimov], who is also on this card was 151½lbs for his bout against Venezuelan puncher Frank Rojas (24-2, 23), who was 152½lbs.
Related - Bivol battles Smith in next title defense!
Earlier today Uzbek sensation Isrial Madrimov (1-0, 1) [Isroil Madrimov] confirmed that he would be in action on March 9th, at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York as part of the under-card for Dmitry Bivol's (15-0, 11) [дмитрий бивол] bout with Joe Smith Jr (24-2, 20). Not only did Madrimov confirm that bout but he also stated that the details of the bout are yet to be agreed.
The fighter revealed that no opponent has been signed to face him, and he told Olamsports "It's also interesting for me to be my opponent, but all the boxers who have come up with the offer are still reluctant to fight, and I think they are afraid to be the opponent". It's kind of funny to think that a 1-0 prospect has scared opponents, but given how talented and impressive Madrimov was on his debut, when he stopped Vladimir Hernandez in 6 rounds to claim an Intercontinental title, it's not hard to believe that there is at least a hint of truth there.
We're hoping that Madrimov and his team do secure a decent opponent, though if we're being honest such a short notice opponent won't be up to much, and instead it might make more sense to pull Madrimov from the show and put him on a show later down the line against a better opponent. It's also worth noting that this is the second time a World of Boxing Uzbek prospect has been matched at short notice since World of Boxing and Matchroom began working closely together and comes just weeks after Shakhram Giyasov (7-0, 6) [Shahram G‘iyosov] defeated former world title challenger Edgar Puerta (25-12-1, 19) in a bout not aired on DAZN.
Might be early to say, but it does seem like World of Boxing prospects aren't being given the same focus they were before World of Sport began with DAZN.
Last week Dmitry Bivol (15-0, 11) [дмитрий бивол] had his bout with Joe Smith Jr (24-2, 20) confirmed for March 9th in Verona, New York, though there was some question marks about who else would be on the card.
Today Olamsport essentially confirmed that Olympic silver medal winner Shakhram Giyasov (6-0, 5) [Shahram G‘iyosov] would be on the show.
The Uzbek news outlet explained that the highly touted Giyasov had left Uzbekistan to continue his training in the US ahead of his bout on that show, though didn't reveal who he would be facing on the card.
We're hoping that more top Uzbeks will be on the show, though it's unclear still despite several originally being rumoured for the show.
(Image courtesy of Olamsport)
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