Dmitry Bivol’s fight with Canelo Alvarez is on course. But if the Russian isn’t allowed to box, Britain’s John Ryder is training and prepared to replace him
DMITRY BIVOL, the holder of the WBA light-heavyweight belt, is due to fight Canelo Alvarez on May 7 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
DAZN will televise on pay-per-view, tickets are on sale and the fight is on course to happen. But it will be controversial. Bivol is Russian. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in solidarity other jurisdictions are sanctioning Russia athletes. For instance the Russian team has been banned from international amateur boxing and in the UK boxers licensed with the Russian federation aren’t allowed to compete. If that situation changes in America or Nevada, British super-middleweight John Ryder would volunteer his services as a replacement.
“I said to John you don’t know how the land lies day by day with it all. I know the WBA are okay with letting that fight happen but you don’t know day by day what the government will think about letting the fight happen with a Russian fighter. I’m always ticking John over anyway,” Tony Sims, Ryder’s trainer, tells Boxing News.
Ryder has sought an Alvarez fight before. After pushing Callum Smith close when he held the WBA’s super-middleweight belt, the Londoner was making himself available for Canelo if he’d needed a short-notice replacement opponent last year. To maintain his place at the top level, earlier this year he outscored Danny Jacobs, a former Canelo opponent, in his last fight.
He took that win over Jacobs in February and, after two weeks off, got back to training. Ryder’s been sparring once a week, including helping Conor Benn with some rounds against a southpaw in preparation for his fight with Chris Van Heerden. “He’s been doing a bit with Conor over the last few weeks,” Sims said. “John shows him bits and pieces.
“It’s nice to have his experience on board.”
Alvarez has been firmly in Ryder’s sights during his training. Promoter Eddie Hearn has said Canelo is considering boxing in the UK in December of this year. “I think John will be in pole position to do that fight. If that’s definite he may have a warm up in the summer,” his trainer noted. “You don’t want to be sitting around waiting all the time. You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do but he is in a good position at the moment.”