The World Boxing Association (WBA) have ordered their champion Dmitry Bivol to defend his Light Heavyweight title against Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez.
In a statement on their website the sanctioning body revealed communication on the matter had been sent to each team explaining they will have until August 10 to successfully negotiate the fight. Should that not be achieved then purse bids will be called.
“Bivol’s champion period is conditioned to a term of 24 months and his last mandatory fight was on March 3, 2018, his next one was to be after March 2020.”
“For that reason he must face Ramirez.”
Ramirez, 31, will look to become a two-weight world champion when he faces Bivol. The Mexican southpaw won the WBO World Super Middleweight title in 2016 beating Arthur Abraham. The new title holder then defended his strap five times against uninspiring opposition.
The news will be a blow to Joshua Buatsi who was in the running to face Bivol this autumn. Promoter Eddie Hearn recently told media that an offer had been put to the unbeaten British Light Heavyweight who will now have to wait a bit longer for a title shot.
Bivol took his profile to another level on May 7 when he beat Canelo Alvarez in the eighth defence of his title. The Mexican was aiming to become a two-time champion at the weight having beat Sergey Kovalev three years ago for the WBO belt. However, he found Bivol a much tougher nut to crack and went on to lose a unanimous decision.
One-week later Ramirez earned his number one and mandatory position with the WBA after dispatching of Germany’s Dominic Boesel in four rounds.