Tagged in: Dmitry bivol

WBA orders Dmitry Bivol to defend 175-pound belt against Gilberto Ramirez

Dmitry Bivol will have a tough test on his hands if he wants to stay a champion.

Bivol must face top contender Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez in a mandatory defense, the World Boxing Association revealed Wednesday. Ramirez is the No. 1 contender in the WBA’s 175-pound ranking.

Bivol had requested to face London’s Joshua Buatsi, per the WBA.

“After an extensive study of the same, the WBA denied such permission,” the sanctioning body said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) is coming off a landmark win against Canelo Alvarez, ESPN’s top pound-for-pound fighter at the time. The Russian boxer won in a unanimous decision — 115-113 on all three scorecards — to successfully defend the belt for the eighth time.

Ramirez (44-0, 31 KOs) told ESPN he was surprised Bivol made the request to the WBA but was pleased with Wednesday’s ruling.

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“I felt that they were scared to fight me,” Ramirez said. “That’s why I’m so happy to fight him. I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long. Now it’s my time.”

The 31-year-old Mexican fighter is looking to become a two-division champion.

In 2016, he made history by becoming the first Mexican to win a super middleweight title when he outpointed Arthur Abraham. It set the table for Alvarez, who ran through the 168-pound division to become the first undisputed super middleweight champion in the four-belt era.

The ruling also suggests that if the two sides cannot come to terms by the end of Wednesday, a purse bid will be held for the fight’s rights. Matchroom Boxing promotes Bivol, and Golden Boy Promotions handles Ramirez.

If Bivol doesn’t want to face Ramirez, he could vacate the WBA belt, since Badou Jack relinquished the title in 2017. However, Ramirez said he doesn’t think Bivol will go that route.

Ramirez said he feels he presents the most lucrative option for Bivol and believes there is an appetite to see if a Mexican fighter can dethrone Bivol, something Alvarez couldn’t do in his ambitious attempt in May.

“It will be really surprising if he vacated the title,” Ramirez told ESPN. “Who else is he going to fight?” The matchup could be one of boxing’s most competitive title fights of the year.

Bivol is No. 2 in ESPN’s divisional rankings, trailing only Artur Beterbiev. Ramirez is slotted third following his win versus Dominic Boesel in May.

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Dmitry Bivol scores stunning unanimous decision victory over Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas

Dmitry Bivol, in one of the biggest boxing upsets in recent memory, scored a unanimous decision over the sport’s top star, Canelo Alvarez, on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.

All three judges scored the fight 115-113, but the fight wasn’t nearly that close. Still, Bivol needed to win the final rounds on all three cards to avoid a draw. Equally puzzling: All three judges scored the first four rounds for Alvarez.

The judges’ view aside, Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) was in control from the opening bell, as he used his size (including a 4-inch height advantage at 6 feet tall to the 5-foot-8 Alvarez), range and jab to keep his light heavyweight title in his ninth defense.

“I prove myself today, I’m the best [in my division],” said Bivol, who resides in Saint Petersburg, Russia, but didn’t have his national anthem played at a time when many of his countrymen are being barred from competing in major sporting events due to the war in Ukraine. “Eddie Hearn, sorry I broke your plans with Gennadiy Golovkin.”

The long-awaited trilogy fight between Alvarez and Golovkin, the biggest event boxing can deliver, was already signed for Sept. 17. Instead, Alvarez stated he plans to exercise his contractual right to an immediate rematch.

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“It doesn’t end like this,” said Alvarez, who entered the ring rated No. 1 pound-for-pound by ESPN.

“No excuses, I lost today; he is a great boxer … I felt his power. He comes in and he goes out. He manages his distance really well.”

As Bivol said, “Rematch? No problem.”

The 31-year-old Bivol used beautiful footwork to circle away from Alvarez’s power shots and stay out of harm’s way during the early rounds, yet Bivol also stood his ground and fired three- and four-punch combinations that met the mark.

Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) tore through the opposition at 168 pounds over the past 16 months and collected all four world titles to capture the undisputed super middleweight championship, but an attempt to regain a 175-pound title proved to be too much.

The defeat is Alvarez’s first since 2013, when he was just 23 and outclassed by Floyd Mayweather.

And like the all-time great, Bivol employed expert counterpunching set up by the jab to pile up rounds.

The 31-year-old Mexican boxer applied plenty of pressure and found some success on the inside, particular with a right uppercut he ripped through Bivol’s guard on occasion. But Alvarez wasn’t able to sustain his attack.

Bivol, ESPN’s No. 2 light heavyweight, was the far cleaner puncher throughout the fight. He caught many of Alvarez’s powerful shots on his gloves and arms, his left biceps swollen and red when the final bell rang.

“He beat my arm up but not my head,” said Bivol, who was a 4-1 underdog, per Caesars Sportsbook. “He kept hitting me in the arms, and I kept hitting him in the face … I expect that. I watched the fight against Callum Smith.”

Alvarez had targeted Smith’s arm in an attempt to take away the jab and left the Englishman with a torn biceps in their December 2020 fight. Versus Bivol, the strategy didn’t work.

Bivol landed a surprising amount of flush shots — 152 connects to 84 — and Alvarez’s face was already red by the end of Round 1. Alvarez is used to being in control, but he often appeared frustrated, particularly down the stretch as the seconds ticked away on his impressive run at the top of the sport.

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