Artur Beterbiev vs. Dmitry Bivol: Light heavyweight champions set for undisputed showdown in June

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Boxing fans have been dreaming of a fight between lightweight champions Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol for years. The dream fight is now a reality as the bout is set for June 1st in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Turki Alalshikh announced the fight during his appearance on “The MMA Hour” on Saturday.

Beterbiev holds the WBC, IBF, and WBO world titles. The Russian-born fighter will be competing out of Canada, which is relevant to one of the reasons why the fight has not materialized in recent years. With a 20-0 record, Beterbiev won the IBF title in November 2017 with a knockout of Enrico Kolling. Three fights later, Beterbiev captured the WBC title with a stoppage of Oleksandr Gvozdyk.

After two successful defenses of his two titles, Beterbiev lifted the WBO title from Joe Smith Jr. in June 2022. He has since beaten Anthony Yarde and Callum Smith. No opponent could go the distance with Beterbiev, who has a rare perfect record with all victories by stoppage.

WBA champion Bivol is also undefeated, with a record of 22-0. A more tactical fighter than Beterbiev, Bivol has won half of his fights by stoppage, using brilliant technique to often circle opponents.

Bivol won the interim title against Felix Valera in May 2016. The Valera fight was Bivol’s seventh professional outing. After defending the interim title twice, Bivol was promoted to world champion after Badou Jack vacated the title.

Bivol has successfully defended his world title 11 times, including a May 2022 knockout win over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

Like Beterbiev, Bivol is a Russian-born fighter. Unlike Beterbiev, Bivol still lives in Russia. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the WBC banned Russian fighters from competing for their titles. The sanctioning body continued to take that stance whenever the subject of Bivol vs Beterbiev was brought up, with the ban being one of the main sticking points for the fight to be made up until now.

That obstacle now appears to have been cleared and one of the most exciting fights in boxing will stand out as the main event of mid-2024 for the sport.

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