Sulaiman: “Mandatory is next for Artur Beterbiev”
Mauricio Sulaiman, WBC’s president closed the door to an immediate undisputed fight between their light heavyweight champion, Artur Beterbiev, and Dmitry Bivol.
WBC maintains their prohibition for Russian and Belarusian fighters to dispute any of their titles, which makes Bivol ineligible. Beterbiev, who fights with a Canadian passport, must face his mandatory rival, Callum Smith, next.
“Bivol has not approached WBC (to ask for an exemption)”, Mauricio Sulaiman told reporters and IZQUIERDAZO. “At our last Convention, we were very clear about our position in relation to fighters from Russia and Belarus. And that is the case with Bivol”.
Sulaiman clarified that Artur Beterbiev’s next fight must be against the mandatory rival, Callum Smith.
“At this moment, I insist, there has not been a petition (from Bivol’s side)”, Sulaiman emphasized. “For us, the mandatory fight is next (between Beterbiev and Smith)”.
He expressed his enthusiasm about a fight between Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith, since he considers Beterbiev a top Pound for Pound fighter.
“Yes, definitely (he is a PXP)”, Sulaiman said. “Beterbiev, 19 wins, 19 KOs, three belts, very solid, very strong. It’s a hard fight, among the best right now in boxing. Callum Smith is a marvelous fighter. His only loss was a unanimous decision with Canelo. So, the mandatory fight between Beterbiev and Smith will be very important”.