New Bivol vs Beterbiev date confirmed after WBA champion stops Malik Zinad

Artur Beterbiev (left) and Dmitry Bivol’s will get it on in October  (Getty Images)
Artur Beterbiev (left) and Dmitry Bivol’s will get it on in October (Getty Images)

The highly-anticipated, undisputed light-heavyweight title fight between Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev has finally been given a new date after their initial bout was postponed due to injury.

The pair were supposed to face off as part of Saturday night’s ‘5 vs 5’ event in Riyadh – where five of Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom boxers faced five of Frank Warren’s Queensbury fighters – which ended with a dominant 10-0 victory for Warren, as Zhilei Zhang demolished Deontay Wilder with a fifth-round knockout in the main event.

However, it was announced last month that Beterbiev had sustained a ruptured meniscus in training, ruling him out of the long-awaited fight and prompting Malik Zinad to step up as a replacement.

Bivol outclassed Zinad (22-1) with an explosive sixth-round TKO – following a huge left hook with a barrage of lefts and rights until the referee was forced to step in, to hand the Libyan the first loss of his career.

Bivol extended his own perfect record to 23-0 in what marked his first stoppage win since 2018, having arrived on the back of nine successive unanimous decision victories. “I believe my power was there every time, and I didn’t have any doubts,” explained Bivol in a post-fight interview.

After the fight, Turki Al-Sheikh, chair of General Authority for Entertainment in Saudi Arabia, entered the ring and confirmed that Bivol vs Beterbiev would now meet on the rescheduled date of October 12 to kick off Riyadh Season in Saudi Arabia.

Dmitry Bivol impressively beat Malik Zinad in Riyadh (REUTERS)
Dmitry Bivol impressively beat Malik Zinad in Riyadh (REUTERS)

The fighters are both unbeaten and both of Russian descent, though Bivol (23-0, 12 knockouts) represents Kyrgyzstan – his country of birth – and Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs) fights out of Canada, where he resides.

Beterbiev, 39, has won all of his professional contests via knockout and holds the WBC, WBO and IBF light-heavyweight titles, while Bivol, 33, is the division’s WBA and IBO champion – meaning undisputed status is on the line.

After his victory over Zinad, Bivol described his mindset heading into the fight following a change in opponent late in the day.

“We are professional boxers, we have to change tactics at any moment and I had enough time to change my preparations for a different fighter to Beterbiev,” explained the 33-year-old.