While many boxing fans have been keeping their fingers crossed for an undisputed light heavyweight title unification between Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev, the stakes won’t be quite as high as anticipated after WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman stated that Bivol isn’t eligible to win their world title.
The WBC have initiated ongoing sanctions against Russian and Belarusian fighters based upon Russia’s war in the Ukraine, and in this instance — far from the battlefield — Bivol sort of becomes collateral damage.
“This is absolutely sports-directed. There is no boxing in Ukraine because of the invasion. So as long as there’s no boxing in Ukraine, we cannot simply overlook and state that there’s boxing in Russia or Belarus from the WBC. “
Despite this, however, Sulaiman says fighters are able to request a review of their specific cases, but that he has not received any communication from Bivol’s team that he would like to do so. Beterbiev, while Russian by birth, has lived the last 15 years in Canada and maintains a Canadian passport.
“That is why the WBC took a specific look at Beterbiev and decided to have that as consideration. We have had a few other requests. The world believes in peace and it is very unfortunate to see what is happening in that part of the world.”
It remains to be seen where this actually goes in the near future, but with Bivol mostly expected to rematch Canelo Alvarez after this weekend’s fight with John Ryder, he may not be immediately concerned.