Carl Moretti Looking to Make Beterbiev vs Bivol in Summer 2023
The matchup boxing fans want to see more than any other within the light heavyweight division is a showdown between unified champion Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) and WBA champion Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs). This is the first priority for Beterbiev according to promoter Top Rank.
After the unified champion stopped mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde, Top Rank VP of Operations Carl Moretti told the media they would like to stage a fight between the light heavyweight sooner rather than later.
“That is the biggest fight you can make. It’s one of the biggest fights in the sport. I appreciate when mandatories come up. But when you have a full unification with two fighters like that and we know the manager of Bivol, Vadim (Kornilov), very well. So, we’ll reach out to him and try to make this fight next for everybody because it’s one of the biggest fights in the sport.”
NOT SO FAST
That sounds optimistic. However, obstacles remain. Callum Smith is the WBC mandatory challenger. According to Smith’s promoter Eddie Hearn, the one-time super champion is next in line for Beterbiev.
However, the unified champs handlers appear adamant on fighting Bivol next. Moretti believes a fight with the WBA champion can take place this summer. When asked about the mandatory situation, Moretti said the issue will be dealt with at the appropriate time.
“We’re going to try and make the Bivol fight as much as we can. We’ll worry about what’s after that. […] Bivol is a real fighter. […] That’s why we’ll try to make the fight as soon as possible.”
WHO WILL HAVE THE FINAL SAY?
Bivol has a rematch clause with reigning undisputed super-middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez. However, it’s unlikely to happen until September of this year. Alvarez is on the mend from wrist surgery. Word on the street is that he is in negotiations to fight in May against WBO Interim Champion John Ryder. Were that fight to happen, it would open a window of opportunity for Beterbiev to fight Bivol. Moretti’s only hesitation would be if Bivol fights in the meanwhile.
The WBC’s guidelines state that Smith is next up for Beterbiev. Although, they could give the champion an exemption so he could face the WBA champion. Ultimately, Smith will have the final call as funds will likely be administered his way to “step-aside” for the winner of the undisputed clash.
A tug-of-war with the WBC appears to be on the horizon between Top Rank and Matchroom Boxing. At stake is how soon observers get to witness a battle that would be for the undisputed light heavyweight championship of the world.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.