WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has reacted to Dmitry Bivol’s anger towards the organization’s stance on prohibiting Russian and Belarusian boxers from competing for its title due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Bivol is currently the WBA light-heavyweight champion and hopes to become undisputed by fighting Artur Beterbiev for all the belts.
However, the WBC has refused to sanction any contests involving Russian or Belarusian boxers until the conflict is resolved, which means that, even if a fight between Beterbiev and Bivol takes place, the WBC belt will not be on the line.
That naturally led Bivol to become frustrated.
“Of course it’s not fair. How could [someone] say, ‘I am the champion of the world,’ if somebody from some country couldn’t fight for your belt? But this guy could be better than you.
“It’s not fair. And this guy is just training, spending his time in the gym, and he’s not allowed to fight. He’s the same [as] you, he’s just living in a different apartment in a different place, but he’s working the same [as] you.
“He’s training, he’s fighting, his mentality is similar, but why is he not allowed to fight? It’s not fair,” Bivol
This is understandable since Beterbiev has been granted an exemption from the WBC since he has been living in Canada for the last 16 years.
And as Bivol has only lived in Russia for four months, the Khazak may have a right to feel aggrieved.
Sulaiman acknowledged the grievances, letting the boxing community know that it was out of his hands, as well as advising Bivol on any action he could take.
“Our position is not personal, and we are very sorry if it hurts anyone. In this case, (it hurts) Bivol because he is Russian, but it is nothing personal against him.
“We are a sanctioning body that fights for peace, for justice against abuse of power, against discrimination, against aggression.
“And it’s very unfortunate, he (Bivol) is a victim in this situation, but this is something that neither he nor we can control.
“If he has a situation against our sanctioning body, the process is simple. He needs to get a petition like Beterbiev did.
“(Beterbiev) proved that he has lived in Canada for 15 years, that he has a Canadian residence, that his kids are Canadian, that he has a Canadian passport, and a Canadian boxing license,” Sulaiman