By Jeff Aranow: WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol will be returning to the ring to defend his title in the latter part of October. Bivol (16-0, 11 KOs) still doesn’t have an opponent yet, but his manager Vadim Kornilov has offers, according to ESPN. He’s interested in fights between Bivol and Saul Canelo Alvarez, Callum Smith and Sergey Kovalev. On the short term, those fights aren’t going to be available to Bivol.

Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) is defending his WBO light heavyweight title against mandatory Anthony Yarde on August 24. Canelo is reportedly interested in fighting Kovalev next if he’s triumphant against Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs). The promoter for the unbeaten Callum Smith (26-0, 9 KOs), Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, is said to be interested in matching him against #1 WBA John Ryder or WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.

Hearn would also love to match Callum against Canelo Alvarez if the Golden Boy promoted star were willing to fight him, but that’s not likely. Saunders (28-0, 13 KOs) signed with Hearn’s Matchroom promotions this week, and talked boldly in calling out Gennady Golovkin, Chris Eubank Jr., Canelo Alvarez and Callum Smith.

Bivol’s best match-ups are on DAZN says Kornilov

“I do believe that potentially most of the best matchups for Bivol are on DAZN at 168 and 175. There is Canelo (Alvarez), Callum Smith, potentially (Sergey) Kovalev, and many others,” Kornilov said to ESPN.com. “But Bivol is one of the top light heavyweights in the world, is considered ‘the best and most avoided’ by many analysts, and he expects to be treated in accordance. There are options for him on other networks as, of course, his main goal is to become an undisputed champion and hold world titles in more than one division.”

Bivol, 28, recently successfully defended his World Boxing Association 175 pound title with a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision win over knockout artist Joe Smith Jr. (24-3, 20 KOs) on March 9 in a Matchroom Boxing card in Verona, New York. Bivol won by the scores 119-109, 119-109 and 118-110.

Dmitry Bivol should be fighting at 168

What Bivol is accomplishing in fighting at 175 is impressive, given that he’s essentially a 168 pound fighter.

It would be better for Bivol to move down to super middleweight, because it would open up more opportunities for him to get fights against the likes of these fighters:

  • David Benavidez
  • Caleb Plant
  • Billy Joe Saunders
  • Callum Smith
  • Gennady Golovkin
  • Daniel Jacobs
  • Saul Alvarez
  • Jermall Charlo
  • Chris Eubank Jr.

Going down to 168 would open up a lot of opportunities for important fights for Bivol. He could immediately make things interesting if he looked to get ranked high with the World Boxing Organization, because he could then force a fight against the loud talking Saunders. That would be intriguing to see if Saunders agrees to fight Bivol or not. Hearn would likely resist making the Saunders vs. Bivol match with all his might, because he would lose one of his revenue streams if Billy Joe gets soundly beaten by the Russian talent.

Things are a little more complicated for Bivol in trying to get fights against the light heavyweights, because Top Rank promotes three of the champions: Artur Beterbiev, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Sergey Kovalev. Bivol could be waiting a long time before he can get a unification fight against any of those guys if Top Rank has no desire in letting him fight any of them. It’s clearly not worth it for Bivol to wait a long time for fights against the other light heavyweights. There’ other options available to him if he moves down in weight to 168.