With WBA “world” light heavyweight titleholder Dmitry Bivol set to return on August 4 on HBO, serving as the co-feature fighter for the Sergey Kovalev-Eleider Alvarez fight, ESPN is reporting that veteran Isaac Chilemba is in the mix to be his opponent.
Bivol (13-0, 11 KO) has torn through his opposition so far as a professional, most recently dominating and stopping Sullivan Barrera on March 3 in New York, on the Kovalev-Mikhalkin card.
Chilemba (25-5-2, 10 KO) is a solid fighter, four years Bivol’s senior at 31, and ended a three-fight losing streak in his last outing, beating Blake Caparello by decision on the road in Australia.
But he did lose three straight before that, dropping decisions to Alvarez and Kovalev, plus a stoppage due to a broken hand against Oleksandr Gvozdyk. He also lost to Tony Bellew back in 2013 in a rematch, after they drew the first fight.
This isn’t exactly the sort of fight people were probably hoping for Bivol to have on August 4, but it’s probably about as good a fight as is out there at the moment, too, and it’s unlikely that any alternatives will be much better on paper. After you get outside of the top 10, all of whom are busy or just fought or have some other situation going on, you’re getting into the likes of Chilemba, Andrzej Fonfara, and Karo Murat, so Chilemba’s probably as good an opponent as any for this date.