* WBA Light-Heavyweight champion trained in front of media this week, promising a ‘great battle’ on November 5 with Zurdo Ramirez, who he has been hoping to fight for four years
Abu Dhabi-: WBA Light-Heavyweight World champion Dmitry Bivol says he is focusing only on himself ahead of next week’s title fight with Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez. With both boxers undefeated throughout their careers, the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi is destined to deliver fireworks on November 5. And after an extended training camp in the UAE capital, Bivol is ready and waiting to defend his title.
The Russian arrived in Abu Dhabi on September 27 and has been undergoing an intense camp under coach Gennadiy Mashyanov. During an open media session at Kane’s Gym on Tuesday morning, the 31-year-old was looking stronger, quicker, and more solid than ever. With little more than a week to go until fight night, Bivol’s task now is to maintain that.
“We have trained hard – now we just have to keep our shape,” said Bivol, who retains a flawless record after 20 fights. “We’re in the best shape now, so just need to keep it. It’s less about working hard now and more about just maintaining shape and making sure I’m at my peak on the night when I enter the Etihad Arena.”
His opponent Ramirez – the big-hitting Mexican southpaw – moved up to 175lbs in 2019 and has added a further five wins to his record, taking it to an unblemished 44-0-0 with 30 KOs. He arrives in Abu Dhabi as the WBA’s No1 mandatory challenger following his fourth-round knock-out of Dominic Boesel earlier this year.
“Of course, every fight for me is a tough fight, but this is going to be especially tough because he is a great opponent who is determined to win,” said Bivol. “He doesn’t know what it is like to lose and neither do I. I wanted to fight him for maybe four years now, so I am excited it will happen – and taking place in Abu Dhabi for the first time makes it extra special. He wants to take my belt, but I don’t want to give him it, so it promises to be a great battle. Both of us are going to give 100 per cent, I’m sure.”
While Bivol said he has tweaked his preparations slightly – training only with southpaws, for example – he insisted he is focusing only on himself. “Of course, you change a little bit of your preparation when you have a different opponent, but most of the time you just need to work on yourself,” said Bivol, who secured a unanimous decision against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in May. “You can’t develop something new to the necessary high level just two months before a fight, so you are always better to just focus on improving your own strengths.”
Tickets for the landmark Light-Heavyweight World Title Championship, which includes three world title fights and an unrivalled undercard, start at Dh100, with limited VIP packages, including ringside seats. All tickets for the event, the first of a new Champion Series, organised by Matchroom Boxing and the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi, are exclusively available at www.etihadarena.ae.