Beterbiev, Bivol

Beterbiev and Bivol Set for Undisputed Clash for the Ages

The romance and the history of the heavyweight boxing division is such that it tends to garner far more column inches than any other weight category.

That’s why the heavyweight clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk in May is of global interest – a chance for one of these men to become just the sixth undisputed champion in the division in the three-belt era.

That’s a shame for Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol, who on June 1 will contest their own undisputed bout for all the gold in the light-heavyweight category.

And given the nature of the two fighters, it would actually be a far more entertaining watch than even Fury vs Usyk…


The best boxing bouts are often those that are 50/50 in nature, in which a case can easily be made for either fighter to win.

Beterbiev and Bivol’s collision in Saudi Arabia fits the bill, with sportsbooks like Paddy Power making both fighters -110 in their boxing odds.

The fight becomes even more fascinating when you see that the sports betting tips are torn between a Beterbiev KO victory and Bivol winning on points – a clear nod to the contrasting styles of the two pugilists.

Beterbiev’s heavy-handed nature makes him such a dangerous opponent. All 20 of his fights have ended inside the distance and with the Russian-Canadian’s hand raised in victory – classy operators like Marcus Browne, Anthony Yarde, and Callum Smith can attest to his power.

What is most remarkable about Beterbiev is that he appears to be getting stronger with age, rather than experiencing diminishing power. At 39, he’s very much in the autumn of his boxing career, so this may be the only chance he gets to be crowned undisputed champion – what a fitting way to end his stint in the ring that would be.

He will act as the aggressor against Bivol, looking to dominate the center of the ring and land those concussive lefts and rights – the only way, really, for a powerhouse to defeat a more technically skilled opponent.

Beterbiev has, throughout his career, found a way to grind down his opponents – his camp will be hoping that he can do likewise to Bivol on June 1.

The Giantkiller

Although Bivol is highly regarded by shrewd judges of the sport – he’s routinely ranked inside the top five of the best pound-for-pound punchers on the planet, he hasn’t attained the level of fame or notoriety of others.

That’s perhaps deliberate – not all boxers enjoy the limelight and would prefer to focus solely on their vocation instead. It’s a mindset that has worked perfectly for the Russian so far.

Unbeaten in 22 outings, Bivol does not have a highlight reel of KO victories – perhaps that explains some of the lack of respect that comes his way, but what he does possess is extraordinary technical ability; his is a talent and style that all coaches should be trying to impress upon their young fighters.

The likes of Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, and Gilberto Ramirez have all been unraveled by Bivol’s class, while the biggest scalp on the Russian’s resumé is that of Canelo Alvarez, who succumbed to his only defeat of the past decade against the rangy Russian.

It’s true that Canelo stepped up in weight to fight Bivol – the Mexican perhaps realizing that light-heavyweight is a jump beyond even his extraordinary powers of physical transformation, but it wasn’t Bivol’s extra height and weight that proved pivotal; it was his elite ringcraft that left Canelo beaten to the punch more often than not.

The Russian has only fought once since November 2022, but dusted off the cobwebs with a wide points verdict over Lyndon Arthur in December.

Like we say, there’s a case to be made for both men – that’s what makes Beterbiev vs Bivol a potential fight-of-the-year contender.

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Staff Report