The Russian’s last bout was a win in 2022 against the then-undefeated Zurdo Ramirez via a unanimous decision. In the aftermath, Bivol’s attempts at finding an opponent failed. The Russian failed to agree on a rematch with Canelo Alvarez as both fighters disagreed over the weight class. Bivol’s aim was to face Canelo at 168 for the Mexican’s undisputed title, having beaten him at 175. In comparison, Canelo was aiming to avenge the defeat on the same terms. In addition, Bivol’s return had also been hampered by a hand injury, which kept the fighter out for longer than expected. But now Bivol’s return is closer to happening.
“[Bivol] looks to return in January, possibly January 13 in Las Vegas, and then we want to make the [Artur] Beterbiev fight. There’s been a few approaches about that fight. “I truly believe Callum Smith wins that fight by knockout. So, if we can do Callum Smith against Bivol for undisputed, even better. So, we’ll have to see,” Hearn stated
This naturally begs the question: who will Bivol face? As of now, Anthony Yarde is being linked, given that the Brit did face Artur Beterbiev in a world title fight during his last bout, making him more than a capable opponent. And provided that Bivol beats his next opponent, the focus will be on facing the winner of Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith. A fight with Beterbiev had been complicated by the WBC’s ban on Russian fighters from competing for their belt due to the Ukrainian war. And on top of that, the failure of differing promoters to work together has also complicated matters.
“Of course it’s not because of fighters. It’s not because of me or him. The reason because of who will make this fight, Matchroom or Top Rank, DAZN, ESPN,” Bivol