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Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol to clash for Ring light heavyweight belt on June 1

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Undefeated Artur Beterbiev, the holder of three major 175-pound world titles and 100% KO ratio. (Photo by Mark Robison/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Earlier this month, the current IBF, WBC and WBO light heavyweight titleholder Artur Beterbiev cleared the way to face long-time rival and WBA counterpart Dmitry Bivol.

During the weekend, we received the news we all wanted when Turki Alashikh, the chairman of the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia, announced the two will collide in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 1.

It will be one of the most eagerly anticipated fights in boxing, pairing two fighters with contrasting styles, with Beterbiev’s educated pressure and power going against Bivol’s smart boxing brain and outstanding skills. It’s a matchup we had long wanted to see.

Thankfully, now everything is agreed and we can look forward to both men meeting to decide who will be the new Ring magazine light heavyweight champion.

While we don’t know who will be featured on the undercard, it was also revealed the 5×5 Matchroom vs. Queensberry, will round out the event. Both promotional outfits will pick two weight classes, the other won’t know until the fights are made, and Alashikh will decide the fifth fight.

Beterbiev (20-0, 20 knockouts), rated at No. 1 by The Ring at light heavyweight, was a standout amateur, winning gold at the 2009 World Championships and competing at the 2012 Olympics. The physically-imposing Russian moved quickly as a professional. He won the IBF light heavyweight title, stopping Enrico Koelling (KO 12) and defended against Callum Johnson (KO 4) and Radivoje Kalajdzic (KO 5). His breakout win came against then-WBC titleholder Oleksandr Gvozdyk (TKO 10) in a unification bout.

The 39-year-old marked time against Adam Deines (TKO 10) and Marcus Browne (KO 9) before demolishing WBO counterpart Joe Smith Jr. (TKO 2), showed his toughness to beatdown Anthony Yarde (TKO 8) before scoring arguably his most impressive win of his professional career bludgeoning Callum Smith in seven-rounds.

Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs), rated at No. 2 by The Ring at light heavyweight, was also standout amateur before turning professional in November 2014. The 33-year-old Kyrgyzstan-born technician claimed the WBA light heavyweight title in 2017 and has reeled off 10 successful defenses. He holds wins over Sullivan Barrera (TKO 12), Isaac Chilemba (UD 12), Jean Pascal (UD 12) and Joe Smith Jr. (UD 12).

However, it was a career-best win over Canelo Alvarez (UD 12) what vaulted Bivol into the pound-for-pound ratings. He picked apart Gilberto Ramirez (UD 12) and then dominated Lyndon Arthur (UD 12).

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].

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