Dmitry Bivol admits his long-term goal of becoming the Pound for Pound king is on hold as he faces a determined Gilberto Ramirez next.
Bivol fights for the 21st time on November 5 as the WBA light heavyweight champion faces his mandatory challenger.
A former WBO champion at 168 pounds, “Zurdo” Ramirez has chased his shot at the title for well over a year. He now gets his opportunity to dethrone the man he’s accused of ducking him for so long.
For his part, Bivol wanted to continue to build on his victory over Canelo Alvarez in May. However, Ramirez comes first as frustrated Bivol waits for the Canelo vs Golovkin saga to end on September 17.
“Yes, [Gilberto Ramirez] maybe it’s one of the toughest fights in my career. But I’m thinking like that every time before my fights,” said Bivol.
“Everyone who wanted to make this fight. I’m glad to defend my title in Abu Dhabi. Thank you to Ramirez for this fight.
“I know he wanted this fight a long time. Me too. Now it will happen. He is a good fighter, and I like challenges.
“I like to fight against the guy who has won 44 fights and is bigger than me and taller than me. This is a big challenge for me.
“I hope it will be a great fight on November 5.”
On defending his belt in Abu Dhabi, Bivol added: “I have to be focused only on this fight.
“Whenever I fight, I’m focused on that fight. Of course, I have great plans in my head; I want to be the best fighter in the world.
“I want to get more belts. But now I have a big fight against a good fighter. I will try to be focused only on November 5.
“I heard this is the first time someone has defended a world title in Abu Dhabi. It’s great to be the first. I hope it’s not the last time in Abu Dhabi.”
Bivol knows a win could mean another big payday, far greater than the last, against Canelo next May. He cannot afford any mistakes.
The 12-round match is the first fight under the newly installed “Champion Series,” which will take place at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Saturday, November 5.
Bivol vs Ramirez will be live to subscribers worldwide on DAZN (excluding South Korea and MENA).