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Russian world champion receives prestigious boxing award

Dmitry Bivol has been recognized as Fighter of the Year by the WBA

The WBA has honored light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol by naming the Russian its Fighter of the Year on Monday.

Bivol received the accolade at the WBA Centennial convention being held in Orlando, where boxing legends and former world champions such as Evander Holyfield, Bernard Hopkins, and Miguel Cotto were also in attendance.

Bivol, who was born in Kyrgyzstan and moved to St. Petersburg as a child, was given the prestigious award due to his impressive exploits in 2022.

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On May 7, he successfully defended his WBA belt in Las Vegas and stunned the sports world when handing Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez his first defeat since 2013.

The Mexican was widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet at the time, but Bivol outclassed him and roared to a unanimous decision with scores of 115–113 on all three judges’ cards.

The WBA then ordered Bivol, 31, to make a mandatory title defense against unbeaten former WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez on November 5. 

Ramirez came into the fight with an impressive 44-0 record, but Bivol won the fight by even wider scores than those that defeated Alvarez, with 117-11 on two judges’ cards and 118-110 on the third. 

After being recognized as such by the WBA, Bivol is expected to be named Fighter of the Year by numerous other pundits and publications such as Ring Magazine, where ‘Canelo’ was given the prize in 2021.

Bivol intends to chase further greatness in 2023 and wants an undisputed bout against compatriot and IBF, WBC and WBO champion Artur Beterbiev.

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Montreal-based Beterbiev is a scary prospect for any opponent while boasting a 100% KO record, but Bivol has already shown against Alvarez and Ramirez that he knows how to nullify a foe known for boasting big punching power. 

Bivol called Beterbiev out following his win over Ramirez, but whether the superfight gets put on or not is essentially down to their promoters and the television networks whose boxing politics often derail potential mouthwatering clashes. 

“It depends on [the] promoter, mine and the guy who is my opponent,” Bivol said recently on The DAZN Boxing Show. “I can’t just say I want to fight this guy. They can listen to me or they can think about business.”

“Of course, for my legacy, it’s better to fight for another belt,” Bivol said, after previously stating a preference for the Beterbiev showdown as opposed to a far more lucrative rematch with Alvarez.

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“I’ve made 10 defenses, of course I want more. I want to feel that I fight for something else, not just defend my title.”  

After previously calling DAZN, where Bivol’s fights under Matchroom and Eddie Hearn are shown, ‘Deadzone’ plus refusing to do business with them, Beterbiev’s Top Rank representative Bob Arum has changed his tune. 

“If a Bivol fight is to be made, it won’t be until the end of next year because I think Bivol is looking for a rematch with Canelo [Alvarez], which would be a lot more lucrative for him,” he told iD Boxing at the weekend.

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“As you said, this is way down the road. We’ll figure that out. No reason it can’t be figured out. I’m not going to let any network problems stop a fight that should be made,” Arum vowed. “But that is for tomorrow.”

December 13, 2022 at 06:28PM
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