Dmitry Bivol hits out at ‘unfair’ WBC ban on Russian boxers

Dmitry Bivol has labelled the World Boxing Council’s ban on Russian boxers ‘unfair’, as he looks ahead to his next fight.

The Kyrgyzstani-born Russian holds the WBA light-heavyweight title and has been linked with a bout against Artur Beterbiev, who holds the WBC, WBO and IBF belts.

Russian-born Beterbiev represented his country of birth until last year, when he opted to represent Canada – where he has lived for 16 years – amid sporting sanctions relating to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Among those sanctions was a decision by the World Boxing Council (WBC) not to recognise Russian and Belarusian fighters, including champions.

That decision also precludes Bivol, 32, from fighting Beterbiev, 38, in a unification bout at light-heavyweight, despite strong demand from fans.

“Of course it’s not fair,” Bivol told Seconds Out on Monday (12 June). “How could [someone] say, ‘I am the champion of the world,’ if somebody from some country couldn’t fight for your belt? But this guy could be better than you.

“It’s not fair. And this guy is just training, spending his time in the gym, and he’s not allowed to fight. He’s the same [as] you, he’s just living in a different apartment in a different place, but he’s working the same [as] you.

“He’s training, he’s fighting, his mentality is similar, but why is he not allowed to fight? It’s not fair.”

Bivol last fought in November, comprehensively outpointing Gilberto Ramirez to retain the WBA light-heavyweight title, which he also retained in his previous fight, against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in May 2022.

Meanwhile, Beterbiev most recently fought in January, stopping Anthony Yarde in the eighth round. He is next due to box in August, defending his titles against another Briton, Callum Smith.

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