WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol faced a stark warning after reports of failed negotiations with fellow 175-pound ruler Artur Beterbiev.
The pair had been linked to a massive undisputed clash for all the belts in the division. However, Mauricio Sulaiman – the WBC President – said they wouldn’t allow it.
WBC’s spearhead clarified that no Russian fighters would dispute the World Boxing Council title until the war with Ukraine ends.
Dmitry Bivol vs Artur Beterbiev
Sulaiman explained his position: “The WBC can not sanction a fight with Bivol in it. That is because of our position with Russia.
“The WBC would not accept that fight,” he added, speaking to IZQUIERDAZO.
It was then clarified that if Bivol and Beterbiev ever agreed to fight, the WBC title would not sanction their title on the line.
“Until today, that is the position of the WBC. As long as there is no boxing in Ukraine, we will not accept boxing in Russia. At least, not sanctioned by the WBC”.
On Beterbiev’s future defense of the championship, Sulaiman said the Canadian-based fighter, born in Russia himself, has a mandatory fight.
“At this moment, Beterbiev has to fight with his WBC mandatory rival, Callum Smith,” he concluded.
Beterbiev vs Smith and Bivol vs Canelo
On March 16, the WBC said: “The World Boxing Council has ordered WBC light heavyweight champion, Artur Beterbiev, to make his mandatory defense against Callum Smith. Negotiations should start as soon as possible.
“The teams of both fighters must reach an agreement before April 11. Otherwise, a purse bid must be held.
“In his most recent bout, Beterbiev knocked out contender Anthony Yarde in eight rounds in an instant Fight of the Year candidate.
“At the same time, Smith comes from knocking Mathieu Bauderlique out in the fourth round of a WBC elimination bout.”
Bivol is also linked to a fight against Canelo Alvarez after inflicting a second loss on the Mexican superstar in May 2022.
A date in September was earmarked for that rematch to take place. However, if it does happen, Bivol will not be able to challenge for the WBC super middleweight title currently held by the former pound-for-pound king.
It’s a situation that could backfire on the WBC regarding monetary fees and involvement in big fights. It seems to be Sulaiman’s morality stance, which many in the sport would welcome.