WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol will be looking to get past would could be his final hurdle against Lyndon Arthur on December 23rd before potentially fitting for the undisputed 175-lb championship against the winner of the January 13th fight between IBF/WBC/WBO champ Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith.
If everything works out right for Bivol, he’ll fight the Beterbiev-Smith winner in 2024 in the summer.
Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) & Arthur (23-1, 16 KOs) will be fighting on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Otto Wallin next month at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Obviously, it’s not ideal for Bivol to have his fight buried on the undercard on December 23rd after headlining two big fights in 2022 against Canelo Alvarez and Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, beating both in one-sided victories.
In this case, Bivol’s star power doesn’t match that of Joshua or former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, so he’s stuck getting third billing behind those guys.
Wilder is fighting former WBO champion Joseph Parker in the co-feature bout, which is a good enough fight to rate being the main event over the faded Joshua, a guy who hasn’t looked the same since getting dropped hard by former unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2017.
Bivol not looking past Lyndon Arthur
“Many times, your colleagues in the UK ask me about this fighter about what I think about him. He’s a good guy. He’s tall, has experience, and he’s a good challenge for me right now after my pause of one year,” said Dmitry Bivol to Matchroom Boxing, talking about his fight next month against Lyndon Arthur on December 23rd in Saudi Arabia.
Arthur is a good tune-up fight for Bivol to get the cobwebs off from being out of the ring for thirteen months of inactivity. Lyndon has a four-fight winning streak going for him since being knocked out by Anthony Yarde in the fourth round in 2021.
“At the beginning of my career, it would be harder, but now it’s fine,” said Bivol when asked about his thoughts on being inactive for a year since his last fight against Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez in November 2022.
“He’s got a good school in boxing, classic, and he’s tall,” said Bivol about Lyndon Arthur. “I want to show good boxing skills and discipline and show to my fans. I’m still going towards my goal of undisputed. It’s small steps every time, and I hope that I will have a good fight. I hope, and I believe that I should win.”
Arthur is a good serviceable fighter with decent power and good skills. He hasn’t beaten anyone other than his narrow victory over Yarde in their first fight. However, he’s really up against it going against Bivol, and he’ll need him to be really ring rusty for him to have a shot at winning; otherwise, this fight will end early.
“Of course, it’s not the next fight. I wanted it before,” said Bivol when asked if he wanted to fight the winner of the January 13th contest between IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith.
“It’s not right to talk about Beterbiev or Smith because right now, I have an opponent. It’s disrespect to Lyndon and disrespect to myself to look behind his back. When you’re going in the ring, you have to focus on your opponent only. Just you and your opponent.
“I see Beterbiev as a good favorite in this fight, but, of course, it’s not an easy fight. Smith is a good fighter,” Bivol said about Beterbiev’s defense against Callum Smith.
“Yeah, I think he wants it because he talked about it many times,” said Bivol when asked if he believed Beterbiev wanted to face him. “He wants it, of course, because he’s in boxing to achieve something big. He’s a good fighter, a good athlete. Of course, he wants.
11th defense of WBA belt for Bivol
“I think it’s good that I made it ten times. I don’t know many people who made it ten times,” said Bivol about this being his tenth defense of his WBA 175-lb belt that he won in 2017.
The best guys Bivol has fought during his five-year reign as the WBA champion are Gilberto Ramirez and Canelo Alvarez. Neither of those fighters were true 175-lb guy. Ramirez’s success in the pro ranks came at 168, and he’s not looked the same since moving up in weight.
Canelo was too small, and his one-punch-at-time style was too one-dimensional for him to compete against a well-schooled Bivol. Earlier in Canelo’s career, he was a combination puncher, but he’s developed some bad habits since 2021, loading up on his shots and looking for knockouts. Bivol took full advantage of that and dominated Canelo.
“I’m not thinking about how many times. I just have some goals in my head,” said Bivol. “I want to be undisputed, and I’m just moving, moving, moving, and then somebody, ‘You made seven defenses. You made ten. You’re the best fighter of the year. Oh, you know, people now recognize.’”
It would be a massive shock if Lyndon Arthur were to be the one that prevents Bivol from reaching his goal of becoming the undisputed 175-lb champion. It’s likely that Bivol has a rematch clause in the contract for his fight with Arthur, given that this is a voluntary defense for him.
“I’m somewhere with my goal that I’m thinking about. Not how many defenses. It’s just past. I don’t know what I have to say,” said Bivol on whether he still thinks about a rematch with Canelo Alvarez. “Let’s not talk about him. I have my way. He has his own way.
“I hope they will see a good fight,” said Bivol on what fans will see when he faces Arthur on December 23rd. “They will see Dmitry in the ring because many people ask, ‘When are you going to go in the ring? We want to see it.’
“I want to show them smart boxing with a lot of movement and punches. I want to show them Dmitry Bivol. I’m so appreciative of Saudi Arabia for making this fight for me, and I’m so glad that I have such a good opponent as Arthur Lyndon,” said Bivol.