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Mauricio Sulaiman threatens to block Artur Beterbiev vs Dmitry Bivol due to Russia sanctions

Artur Beterbiev is also of Russian decent, but Mauricio Sulaiman lets him represent Canada

Canelo Alvarez v Dmitry Bivol - Weigh-in Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

Artur Beterbiev wants to fight Dmitry Bivol for undisputed light heavyweight supremacy. Dmitry Bivol wants to fight Artur Beterbiev for undisputed light heavyweight supremacy. Bob Arum and Eddie Hearn have, usually grudgingly, acknowledged that they’d let Artur Beterbiev fight Dmitry Bivol for undisputed light heavyweight supremacy.

Mauricio Sulaiman says no. Speaking to Izquierdazo, the WBC head honcho said that Bivol had yet to approach the WBC about the fight, but that the sanctioning body was “very clear” about its position on Russian and Belarusian fighters. Thus, mandatory challenger Callum Smith is next on the docket.

There are so many layers of idiocy at play here that it’s hard to decide where to start, so let’s just go with the fact that Sulaiman is willing to treat Beterbiev like a Canadian but deems Bivol, who was born in Kyrgyzstan and lives in California, as a Russian.

Bivol is not funded, managed by, or in any way associated with the Russian government; blocking this fight does literally nothing but let Sulaiman do what he always does, which is couch his blatantly self-serving hypocrisy in fake honorability. It’s the same crap he does when not letting women fight three minutes based on a study he intentionally misrepresents.

Look me in the eye and tell me you believe for one millisecond that Sulaiman would apply these same standards should Bivol drop to 168 to fight Canelo.

There are a handful of potential outcomes, but my money is on Sulaiman getting a fat sanctioning fee and going “well you see, Bivol lives and trains in California, so it’s fine.” Nobody in power will call him on it.

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