Artur Beterbiev vs Dmitry Bivol – Who wins undisputed light-heavyweight clash?
After unified WBC, IBF, WBO light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (20-0, 20KO) completely destroyed Liverpool's Callum Smith in his last fight on January 13, the stage is now set for the long-awaited undisputed showdown with WBA Super and IBO champion, Dmitry Bivol (22-0, 11KO).
The most sought-after fight in boxing is already signed and set for Saudi, and with the rivals each boxing just three weeks apart, the playing field is completely even.
But who wins between these two elite, formidable world champions? Find out who our boxing panel of experts are picking below:
Abel SanchezBoxing Trainer
"Great matchup, both fighters with extensive successful credentials, I think they are being pushed into a fight neither fighter wants (politically), although our sport needs it, the best taking on the best.
"I believe the outcome will come down to the corner that makes the best adjustments, in my opinion Beterbiev has the most experienced corner, Mark Ramsay will be able reach back on experience, will direct and provide the calm instructions to win a tough, very close 12 round fight."
Mitch MitchellRetired Light-Heavyweight Boxer
"I have huge respect for both boxers and think they are both the best light-heavyweights ever to be around!
"I would be leaning towards Artur Beterbiev to win by KO, I can't see him being beat."
Wayne AlexanderFormer British, European, World champion
"Arthur Berterbiev vs Dimitry Bivol has all the attributes to to a truly great fight, both are undefeated world champions and are both still hungry for more success, Berterbiev is so strong and powerful and is one of the P4P hardest hitters in world boxing, but I believe that Bivol is excellent in every department of the sport apart from power punching. I think that he has the class, skills, footwork, movement and ring IQ to win a very exciting all action 12-rounder on points."
Oscar PickBBN Writer
"My prediction is that Dmitry Bivol will win the fight on points.
"While Artur Beterbiev's performance against Callum Smith was destructive, it told us nothing that we did not know already. The 38-year-old simply reminded fans that he is still one of the biggest punchers in the sport, despite murmurs that he is on the decline. But, against Bivol, a fighter who has shown virtually no signs of vulnerability in 22 professional bouts, the unified world champion will have a harder time imposing himself on his opponent. In my view, Bivol's quicker feet and elite IQ will see him clinch the rounds against a more static and hittable light heavyweight, though he might have to overcome some gut-check moments, with Beterbiev unlikely to stop marching forward at any point."
Oskari MetzEuropean title contender
"What a fight!
"Bivol’s a great boxer and he’s very smart in the ring. He has great distance control and ring generalship and I think he hits harder than some people give him credit for.
"Beterbiev, on the other hand, is a beast in the ring and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. His boxing skills are also overshadowed by his punching power. It’s not going to be an easy fight for either of them, but I believe Beterbiev will eventually catch Bivol with something big. Beterbiev by KO."
Steve Wood VIP Promotions
"After the Smith destruction, it would be easy to go with Beterbiev and hard to go against him, but I can see Bivol boxing clever to a points win."
Burim Sylejmani Boxing Promoter
"The fight between Beterbiev and Bivol is a mega fight that the whole boxing world is looking forward to. After Beterbiev's last performance, things get very exciting."
Tim RicksonBBN Editor
"I have always picked Bivol to win this fight, for a long time, but after last night's demolition job, I'm rethinking my decision.
"Beterbiev looked invincible against Callum Smith, and he made a skilled, powerful, experienced world-class operator look very basic. Smith is a fantastic fighter, but Beterbiev barely got out of third gear and just made it look so easy, which is testament to just how good and formidable he is. His record – amateur and pro – speaks for itself. One of only a very few number of men to defeat Oleksandr Usyk, so he is an elite champion, pound-for-pound top 10.
"Bivol is such a master of range, arguably the best in the world across all weight classes at judging the distance and keeping his opponents on the end of his gloves. So it's such a perfect stylistic matchup, with AB as a pressure fighter, who likes to smother his foes with power punches and not allow them any breathing space, up against a tall, rangy, intelligent boxer, who fights on the outside and can always fight his own fight and not get drawn into wars. What's great is that these two are at the top of their game right now, so we're getting the fight at a good time and not five years too late as is so often the case in boxing.
"I think I'm still leaning towards Bivol to win on points, but it's whether he can become the first man in the world to be able to keep the Russian off him."
Marshall KauffmanKings Boxing Promoter
"I must go with Bivol who has the superior boxing skills and the amateur background to go along with that.
"I think it will be a very good fight, but I must go with Bivol in this fight by decision."
Sam CondyBBN Writer
"Beterbiev put on a clinic last night against Callum Smith. I have always rated Bivol as the superior boxer. However, I am unsure after witnessing such a masterful performance if I would still be so confident in Bivol’s ability to stay away from the constant forward pressure that Beterbiev will bring to the table.
"Neither man has ever looked to be put under much stress of their own, so it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that one of them will lose their zero, even harder still is trying to predict which of the men will leave the victor in what is arguably one of the most exciting matchups to be made this year.
"Nevertheless, I do feel that Bivol should manage to outbox his fellow Russian. Bivol is the technically more polished boxer and has shown in the past that he can come out on top when paired up against power punchers.
"Beterbiev will look to cut Bivol off to unload his deadly combinations, but it’s a hard task when facing a boxer as slippery as his counterpart. I do think we will see Bivol hurt for the first time in his career, though I predict he will pull through and defeat the formidable 38-year-old on points."
Anish ParekhBBN Writer
"I love this fight and it is absurd that the WBC blocked it from ever happening.
"If both men come in at their best, I can only see Beterbiev as the winner.
"As talented and skilled as Bivol is, I don’t see him being able to hurt Beterbiev enough to deter him from launching his relentless attacks. Bivol has a good jab and straight hand but rarely adds variety to his punches and he would have to take risks to sit down on his punches in an effort to make a dent in the unified champion.
"Beterbiev’s power is a blessing and a curse as casual observers overlook the other qualities he has. He has an excellent jolting jab, footwork to cut off the ring, a good variety of punches, tremendous balance when throwing combinations, and is defensively responsible.
"Whilst Bivol may have earned the plaudits in defeating Canelo Alvarez, I would strongly argue that Beterbiev’s wins against Oleksandr Gvodzyk – who was highly regarded – Joe Smith, Anthony Yarde, Marcus Browne, Callum Johnson and Callum Smith are superior, as not only did he beat those men, he dismantled them.
"Beterbiev by late KO or clear UD."
Bogdan Musat Matchmaker
"Bivol is the taller guy and has power in his hands, but I think that Beterbiev will not make any mistake in this fight and will knock out Bivol until round 6."
Arijan GorickiIBO featherweight title contender
"That's a great fight. Both experienced with good fundamentals.
"My prediction is Beterbiev by TKO in the later rounds. I think that people underestimate his boxing skills. I think that Bivol can't keep him on the distance for the full fight, and Beterbiev's pressure while get to him eventually."
Ben DayFormer Southern Area champion
"Man, what a 50-50 fight! This is what it’s all about.
"Both technically quite similar, in my opinion, coming forward fighters, but I have to slightly Artur Beterbiev."