After 11 months out, one fighter who tops the pound-for-pound rankings for many fans is finally about to make a welcome return to the ring.
It is a hand injury that has kept the fighter away but now he’s back fit he is eyeing up an undisputed clash with the winner of the unification fight between Brit Callum Smith and Russian Artur Beterbiev who holds the IBF, WBO and WBC light heavyweight titles.
That fight was originally scheduled for the end of this year but a dentistry issue for Beterbiev has put it on ice until the start of 2024.
The man waiting in the wings for the victor is WBA world light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol.
He was last out in November 2022 when he got a unanimous points win after another solid showing against Gilberto Ramirez out in Abu Dhabi. Before that in May, he put on a career-best performance to become only the second man to beat Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, who still very much wants to avenge the loss should Bivol give him the chance.
That fight in Las Vegas was a tactical masterclass from 21 and 0 Bivol whose feet and fists were both perfect for the full 12 rounds.
Speaking to Matchroom, his promoter Eddie Hearn revealed Bivol is all but ready to make his ring return in December.
“He’s injured and has had a hand injury for a while now but he’s ready to go, ready to go in December.”
He then said Bivol, who is now 32 years old, only has eyes for the biggest fights possible.
“It’s difficult because I wouldn’t say it’s the only fight he’s interested in, but he just wants the undisputed. He wants the winner of Callum Smith and [Artur] Beterbiev but at the same time that fight has been delayed so he has to fight in the meantime. He has to fight in December then he has to fight the winner of that fight. It’s a mega fight.”
It is fair to say Bivol against either Smith or Beterbiev would indeed represent a mouthwatering clash.