It’s a special mid-week podcast! Light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol, coming off his upset victory over Canelo Alvarez in May, and mandatory challenger Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez are set to meet in a much-anticipated bout on Nov. 5 in the main event of a Matchroom Boxing card that will take place at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
On Wednesday, Bivol, Ramirez and their teams were on hand at the arena for the kickoff news conference.
Following the media event, both fighters spoke on a video conference with four members of the American boxing media. I participated in the call and had a chance to speak to both fighters and ask them each a few questions.
You can har my Q&A portion with the champion and the challenger by clicking play below,
“It was a little hard for me to make weight at 168 lb.,” Ramirez said Wednesday. “Now? It’s easier to make 175 lb. I’ve been training harder with my trainer Chris Wong. I’ve been eating more tacos too! I’ve been knocking out all these guys.”
Ramirez (44-0, 30 KOs), 31,is a southpaw from Mexico, who has knocked out all five of his light heavyweight opponents since moving up in weight in 2019. Zurdo was previously WBO world super middleweight champ from 2016-19.
As for Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs), 31, of Russia, he is coming off the biggest win of his career when, as the underdog, he clearly outpointed undisputed super middleweight champion and then-pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez on May 7 in Las Vegas.
When Alvarez declined to exercise his contractual right to an immediate rematch and opted to instead return to super middleweight to defend his belts against rival Gennadiy Golovkin in their third showdown on Sept. 17, Ramirez pressed hard for Bivol to fulfill the mandatory obligation.
Bivol promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing tried to get the WBA to approve an optional defense against Joshua Buatsi instead but Ramirez’s team at Golden Boy fought against it and the WBA ultimately gave Bivol an ultimatum: Defend against Ramirez, who had won two title eliminators in a row by knockout, or be relieved of the belt.
So, Bivol has taken the fight and it may turn out to be an even bigger challenge with a power punching, bigger fighter in Ramirez than the Canelo bout was back in May.
Hear more of what they had to say Wednesday and make sure to follow/subscribe to the podcast feed on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, etc.!!