"Dmitry Bivol Set for Clash with Lyndon Arthur in Saudi Arabia on December 23rd"
WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol is gearing up for a challenging title defense on December 23rd, as he faces off against Lyndon Arthur in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
While Bivol is expected to be the favored contender in this bout, it promises to be a competitive showdown, marking his first defense since November 2022 against Gilberto 'Zurdo' Ramirez.
Despite his victory over Canelo Alvarez last year, Bivol has struggled to secure high-profile matchups, with no big names expressing interest in facing him.
Opting to take on Lyndon Arthur, a relatively lesser-known figure in the U.S., may be viewed as a regressive move for Bivol. While Arthur is undoubtedly a skilled fighter, the matchup lacks the name recognition that could elevate Bivol's career. Various reports that Arthur, with a record of 23-1 and 16 KOs, is stepping in as the replacement challenger for Richard Rivera, pending the finalization of the Bivol-Rivera fight.
Some fans had hoped for a Bivol vs. Rivera matchup, given Rivera's entertaining fighting style and American background. However, Arthur, on a four-fight winning streak since his 2021 loss to Anthony Yarde, presents a formidable challenge for Bivol in my opinion.
The fight is set to be part of the undercard for the Anthony Joshua vs. Otto Wallin event. While Joshua no longer holds a world title, he headlines the card, with other notable matchups, including Deontay Wilder against Joseph Parker. Criticism has arisen regarding the perceived mismatched nature of the fights on the December 23rd card, with fans expressing a preference for a Joshua vs. Wilder main event.
The Saudi-hosted event also features noteworthy clashes such as Filip Hrgovic vs. Mark De Mori and Arslanbek Makhmudov vs. Agit Kabayel. However, some argue that the Saudis missed an opportunity by not insisting on a Joshua vs. Wilder showdown, given the longstanding history between the two heavyweight stars.
As the anticipation builds for the December 23rd card, boxing enthusiasts await an engaging night of fights, hoping for compelling matchups that live up to the sport's high standards.