Fans won’t be seeing an undisputed light heavyweight title fight as soon as they may have hoped.
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman shut down the unification bout between three-belt champion Artur Beterbiev and WBA titleholder Dmitry Bivol – despite both boxers wanting to have a shot at each other.
“Bivol has not approached the WBC (to ask for an exemption),” Sulaiman told reporters and Izquierdazo.
“At our last Convention, we were very clear about our position in relation to fighters from Russia and Belarus. And that is the case with Bivol.”
The WBC continues to refuse to allow Russian and Belarusian boxers to fight for any of their titles until Russia ends their military conflict with Ukraine.
Bivol has not fought since November, which is when he outboxed Gilberto Ramirez and retained his WBA strap by unanimous decision. According to Boxing Scene, they would allow Bivol to file for an exemption, but he has not done that yet.
That leaves Beterbiev to Callum Smith.
“At this moment, I insist, there has not been a petition (from Bivol’s side),” Sulaiman emphasized. “For us, the mandatory fight is next (between Beterbiev and Smith).”
Smith is on a two-fight winning streak over Gilbert Castillo Rivera by TKO and, most recently, Mathieu Bauderlique by knockout in August. He returned to the winning column after losing to Canelo Alvarez in 2020.
Beterbiev retained his WBC, IBF and WBO titles last weekend with a stoppage win over Yarde.