Strictly Business Boxing
Strictly Business Boxing

Wilder vs Zhang Elevated

Dmitry Bivol Defends Title vs. Malik Zinad In Riyadh!

(May 5th) As per, Turki Alalshikh, the chairman of Saudi Arabia's General Entertainment Authority following Artur Beterbiev’s postponement of his scheduled fight versus Dmitry Bivol due to an injury sustained in training the Deontay Wilder vs. Zhilei Zhang has been now been elevated to the main event with Bivol, 22-0, 11Ko’s staying in action will now defend his WBA Light Heavyweight title against Pieta, Malta based unbeaten Libiyan, Malik Zinad, 22-0, 16Ko’s, June 1st in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Artur Beterbiev vs Dmitry Bivol

Undisputed Light Heavyweight Title Showdown

Postponed Due to Beterbiev Training Injury!

(May 3rd) Just announced the highly anticipated undisputed light heavyweight world title showdown between WBC/IBF/WBO champion Artur Beterbiev and WBA ruler Dmitry Bivol promoted by Top Rank, Queensberry Promotions, Matchroom Boxing, World of Boxing Promotions and Sela scheduled for Saturday, June 1st at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — has been postponed after Beterbiev suffered a ruptured meniscus in training requiring surgery.

 

The plan is to reschedule Beterbiev-Bivol before the end of the year, and additional details will be provided in due course.

June 1: Beterbiev-Bivol Kick Off Presser

Undisputed Light Heavyweight Title Showdown

To Stream LIVE & Exclusively On ESPN+ In The U.S.!

(April 15th) An undisputed light heavyweight king will soon be crowned in The Kingdom. WBO/WBC/IBF unified champion Artur Beterbiev will battle WBA ruler Dmitry Bivol on Saturday, June 1 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The victor will become the division’s first undisputed champion since Roy Jones Jr. defeated Reggie Johnson in 1999.

 

This is what the fighters had to say:

Artur Beterbiev: “I just see another belt. I’m collecting belts, and I need one more.”

 

“I don’t know why {it’s taken so long to make this fight}. He knows better. Ask him."

 

“We’ll see {if this is the biggest challenge}. I’m not thinking about it. I’m preparing for it. I will prepare and try to be at 100 percent.”

 

Dmitry Bivol: “When I signed a contract to be a pro boxer, I had a goal to become undisputed. Everything that I have gone through has been for that. I did it to achieve my goal. Even the fight against Canelo. It was my ticket for big fights. And now I’m happy that I will have this fight on June 1 for all the belts."

 

“For every training camp, I think my opponent is the most dangerous opponent in the world. This helps me to be focused and serious in my training. Of course, he’s one of my most dangerous opponents. You see his record and his fights. He is powerful. It makes me more excited to fight against him because I love challenges. I love to be tested. This fight is a huge test for me."

 

“Every person is different. Not only me. I have good skills. I just believe in my skills. I have been in boxing for 28 years. I’ve been in boxing ever since I can remember. I love this sport, and I think my experience will help me. And my mentality, skills, and camp. I believe I can be undisputed.”

 

Todd duBoef (Top Rank President): "I’ve always been a fan of destruction. And this guy is destruction. Every time you turn on the television, my phone would ring and friends from all over the world would call me and say, ‘Who is this monster?’ And, I think he gets better with each fight."

 

This battle of 175-pound titans will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S. as a special one-fight broadcast.

 

“This a dream matchup between two of the best light heavyweights we’ve ever seen,” said Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum. “The beautiful city of Riyadh will play host to this legacy-defining fight. Thank you to His Excellency Turki Alalshikh for his vision and determination in bringing boxing fans the fights they want to see.”

 

Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs) is boxing’s only current world champion with a 100 percent knockout ratio, a human wrecking ball who entered the pro ranks in 2013 following Olympic berths in 2008 and 2012. Beterbiev wasted little time establishing his pro credentials, knocking out former world champion Tavoris Cloud in his sixth fight and stopping Enrico Koelling in his 12th outing to capture the IBF world title. Beterbiev picked up the WBC strap with a 10th-round TKO over Oleksandr Gvozdyk in 2019 and added the WBO title in June 2022 with a second-round TKO of Joe Smith Jr. He made his eighth title defense on January 13 in Quebec City, Canada, knocking out former super middleweight world champion Callum Smith in seven rounds.

 

Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs) is a 10-year pro with 11 consecutive world title defenses, tied for third most in light heavyweight history. A decorated amateur who tallied more than 250 victories, he picked up his first regional title in his fourth pro fight. Following two defenses of the WBA interim title, Bivol was elevated to full champion in 2017 and began his reign of dominance. He notched wins over Jean Pascal, Joe Smith Jr., and Sullivan Barrera, among others, before a career-defining triumph that vaulted him up the pound-for-pound rankings. In May 2022, Bivol neutralized living legend Canelo Alvarez en route to a unanimous decision win. Six months later, he bested former super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez. Last December, Bivol fought on the historic “Day of Reckoning” card in Riyadh, shutting out British challenger Lyndon Arthur.

His Excellency Turki Alalshikh, Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), today announced the selected fighters who will compete on behalf of long-standing promotional rivals Queensberry and Matchroom in the history-making 5 vs 5 collision set to take place in Riyadh on June 1.

 

The 5 vs 5, which has created intense speculation and interest across the boxing world, features as part of a blockbuster card headlined by one of the finest fights that can be made in the sport, the Undisputed championship of the world match between light heavyweight greats Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol that will take place at the Kingdom Arena. The undisputed 175-pound showdown will be presented in association with Top Rank.

 

In anticipation of the shootout between the two promotional giants, His Excellency Turki Alalshikh stated: “The Five vs Five match is one of the standout events on Riyadh’s calendar this year. It will feature 10 exciting fighters from Queensberry and Matchroom. The Riyadh calendar looks forward to hosting more major events and establishing partnerships that promise unprecedented entertainment for the audience.”

 

Frank Warren, the Hall of Fame promoter and chairman of Queensberry, added: “The night of June 1 will mark a thrilling and spectacular return to Riyadh, where the pride and reputation of two companies will be at stake in the 5 vs 5 concept that neither promoter dares to contemplate losing! Thanks to the vision of H.E. Turki Alalshikh we can now look forward to unprecedented events such as this on a regular basis and nights at the Kingdom Arena are now an established and welcome fixture in the world boxing diary. Our five selected champions are ready to rule in Riyadh.”

 

Eddie Hearn, chairman of Matchroom Sport, said: “The best Sport stems from the greatest rivalries. And on June 1, I am confident Matchroom will reign supreme over Queensberry. I have assembled a team of elite world beaters who are ready to do the business. Losing isn’t an option. With the brilliant Dmitry Bivol challenging for the undisputed light-heavyweight championship, this is without doubt one of the best boxing cards of all-time - and we’ve already seen a few contenders in Riyadh, all thanks to the outstanding vision of His Excellency Turki Alalshikh. I’m sure this unprecedented five-versus-five will be the first of many duels with Frank Warren and his team - and may the best man win!”

 

The current WBA world light heavyweight champion, the slick and stylish Bivol, 33, holds a record of 22-0 (11 KOs) and has successfully defended his title on 10 occasions over the last six years. Wrecking machine Beterbiev, 39, is the WBC, IBF and WBO world champion and has secured all of his 20 professional victories via knockout.

 

The nominated fighters for the groundbreaking 5 vs 5, revealed today at a pre-event media conference at London’s Outernet, are headlined by the heavyweights.

 

Frank Warren and Queensberry have selected heavyweight force of nature Daniel Dubois (20-2, 19 KOs), the young UK powerhouse who was a recent challenger to unified champion Oleksandr Usyk, to go up against IBF No.1 contender Filip Hrgovic (17-0, 14 KOs) on behalf on Matchroom in a battle to determine who will be first in line to fight for the IBF World Heavyweight title later this year.

 

These Next Generation heavyweights will also be battling to determine just who will represent the future of the sports marquee division.

 

Chinese giant “Big Bang” Zhilei Zhang (26-2-1, 21 KOs) has been chosen to represent Queensberry in the second heavyweight encounter. The 40-year-old southpaw takes on Matchroom pick and former WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (43-3-1, 42 KOs), the Bronze Bomber who made 10 successful defences of the title he won by defeating Bermane Stiverne in 2015. The man from Alabama, with the trademark ‘Bomb Squad’ chant, has executed a chilling 42 KOs from his 43 wins.

 

At featherweight, in what many predict will be a 'fight of the year' contender, and arguably should have been a world title unification, Queensberry’s Nick Ball, (19-0-1, 11 KOs), and Matchroom’s American world champion Ray Ford, (15-0-1, 8 KOs), compete for the WBA World Featherweight championship recently won by Ford in spectacular fashion against Otabek Kholmatov via a stoppage with just seven seconds of the 12 rounds remaining.

 

In March in Riyadh, ferocious Liverpool firebrand Ball, was hugely unfortunate not to have won the WBC world title following his fight against two-weight world champion Rey Vargas from Mexico. Ball dominated much of the fight and knocked the Mexican down twice, but the judges returned cards declaring a split draw.

 

A classic middleweight encounter will be guaranteed when Queensberry’s undefeated Hamzah Sheeraz, the WBC Silver and Commonwealth champion with a record of 19-0 (15 KOs), trades blows with Matchroom’s USA product Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams, who has impressively assembled a record of 16-0 (11 KOs) and won the IBF North American title in 2023. A huge prize is on the line in the fight with the fight being recognised as a Final Eliminator for the WBC World Middleweight title. Sheeraz is also rated as the No.1 contender with the WBO so a World title opportunity beckons for the winner. Sheeraz, at just 24, is on a run of 13 straight stoppages, the longest consecutive KO streak currently in British boxing.

 

In the final fight, Queensberry light heavyweight and former World Amateur champion Willy Hutchinson (17-1, 13 KOs), one of the brightest talents in British boxing and the current WBC International champion, will face Matchroom’s former British champion and WBA world title challenger Craig ‘Spider’ Richards (18-3-1, 11 KOs).

           

Queensberry         vs                 Matchroom

Heavyweights:

Zhilei Zhang, 26-2-1, 21Ko’s vs Deontay Wilder, 43-3-1, 42Ko’s 12rds        

Daniel Dubois, 20 2, 19Ko’s vs Filip Hrgovic, 17-0, 14Ko’s 12rds

           

WBA World Featherweight Title

Nick Ball, 19-0-1, 11Ko’s vs Raymond Ford, 15-0-1, 8Ko’s 12rds

                       

Light Heavyweights

Hamzah Sheeraz, 19-0, 15Ko’s vs Austin Williams, 16-0, 11Ko’s

Willy Hutchinson, 17-1, 13Ko’s vs Craig Richards, 18-3-1, 11Ko’s   

About ESPN+

ESPN+ is the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. It reached 2 million subscribers in less than a year and offers fans thousands of live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, along with premium editorial content.

 

Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB and NHL games, exclusive UFC, Top Rank boxing and PFL fights and events, top domestic and international soccer (Serie A, MLS, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredivisie, and more), thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball and other sports), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby and cricket, new and exclusive series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and can cancel at any time.

 

ESPN+ is available as an integrated part of the ESPN App (on mobile and connected devices) and ESPN.com.

 

About ESPN

In the UK, ESPN operates a successful and growing business that includes a collection of leading sports websites and apps, an expanding sports content sales business, live and on-demand streaming service ESPN Player, and a long-term collaboration with BT Sport that includes BT Sport operating an ESPN-branded channel as part of its television business.

 

ESPN UK combines bespoke content from an experienced London-based team with the best writing on other sites in ESPN’s global digital portfolio, including ESPNcricinfo.com and ESPN FC. More than 100 staff from multiple locations contribute to ESPN UK’s coverage across football, rugby, cricket, tennis, boxing and golf, offering both a local and global view.

 

ESPN’s UK business is part of ESPN International, a division of ESPN, Inc., which has grown to include ownership — in whole or in part — of 26 television networks outside of the United States, as well as a variety of additional businesses that allow ESPN to reach sports fans in more than 60 countries and territories across all seven continents. Since 1983, ESPN (founded in Bristol, Connecticut, in 1979) has grown around the world, establishing itself as the leading global sports media brand – ESPN.com is one of the world’s leading sports websites. The company’s philosophy to global growth is to always serve sports fans and be locally relevant to them, with content and products that tap into their great passion and dedication. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.

 

About Top Rank

Innovation has been the standard at Top Rank since it was established in 1966 by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. The boxing industry’s leading promotional company, Top Rank has shaped, developed, and promoted the careers of top international pay-per-view superstars and Hall of Famers, including Muhammad Ali, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Aaron Pryor, Alexis Arguello, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto, Erik Morales, Terence Crawford, and Vasiliy Lomachenko.

 

Top Rank has promoted some of the most memorable fights in the sport’s history, including 26 Ali events, Leonard vs. Hearns, Pryor vs. Arguello, Duran vs. Leonard, Hagler vs. Hearns, Leonard vs. Hagler, Foreman vs. Holyfield, Morales vs. Barrera, De La Hoya vs. Trinidad, and the most lucrative fight in boxing history, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. In addition to the previously mentioned super fights, Top Rank possesses one of the largest sports libraries, which includes nearly 10,000 fights.

 

Known for creating strategic collaborations between athletes, sponsors, and television networks, Top Rank has been an architect of boxing’s global growth by staging high-profile events in landmark settings around the world, including Madison Square Garden, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Staples Center, Wembley Arena, Araneta Coliseum, The Venetian Macao, Yankee Stadium, Radio City Music Hall, The “Fabulous” Forum, and AT&T Stadium. Top Rank has also been the leader within the boxing industry in creating unforgettable in-arena experiences for fans and embracing 21st century technological advancements to distribute world-class fights and shoulder programming across a variety of platforms.

 

About Frank Warren

In an era spanning over 35 years, Hall of Fame boxing Promoter and Manager Frank Warren has worked with some of the biggest fighters in boxing history. Hamed, Bruno, Tyson, Calzaghe, Benn, Collins, Eubank, Khan and Hatton are some of the iconic names he has promoted during his career.

 

BoxNation

In 2011 Frank launched the innovative direct to consumer TV model, BoxNation as part of a vision that saw the sports TV market evolving from the traditional reliance on major satellite and cable broadcasters.

 

Since then BoxNation has gone from strength to strength becoming the UK’s fastest growing independent subscription broadcaster in the process and showcasing the biggest fights from at home and abroad, along the way.

 

Through Queensberry Promotions and BoxNation, the future of British boxing has never looked in such great shape.

 

About TNT Sports

BT Sport is a group of pay television sports channels provided by BT Consumer; a division of BT Group in the United Kingdom and Ireland that was launched on 1 August 2013. The channels are based at the former International Broadcast Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

 

About DAZN Group
DAZN Group is one of the fastest growing sports media companies in the world. Headquartered in the UK and with employees in over 25 countries, our businesses touch every aspect of the way fans engage with sports; from production, through to content distribution and commercialization. DAZN Group is home to DAZN, the leading global sport destination, as well as the popular sport portal, DAZN News. DAZN is leading the charge to give sports fans around the world access to sport anytime, anywhere. DAZN guarantees affordable access on most connected devices including smart TVs, set-top boxes, streaming sticks, smartphones, tablets, PCs and game consoles. DAZN is now live in more than 200 countries and territories after first launching in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan in 2016.

 

DAZN is a leading digital sports platform in Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Japan, Canada, US and the UK.  Its wide range of exclusive content includes top-flight football from the world’s most popular competitions – Bundesliga, English Premier League, J.League, LaLiga, Serie A, and the UEFA Champions League, in addition to the biggest sports from around the world - Formula 1, NFL, NBA, MotoGP and the UFC.  

 

DAZN is the NFL’s global partner and, from the 2023 season, will be the only place for fans around the world to watch every NFL match. DAZN is a global home for boxing and combat sports through its partnerships with Matchroom Boxing the Professional Fighters League. With the most authentic voice in the sport, DAZN is the only brand that can reach across all markets and audiences cohesively in boxing, unlike any other broadcaster. DAZN is also a global home for Women’s Football with UEFA Women’s Champions League and Finetwork Liga F.  DAZN is adding more and more sport to its platform to create a destination for sports fans.  

 

DAZN is reimagining the way people enjoy sport. With a single, frictionless platform, sports fans can watch, bet, play, share, socialise, and buy tickets, NFTs and merchandise. Live and on-demand sports content, anywhere, in any language, on any device – only on DAZN.  

 

DAZN is a global, privately-owned company with employees in over 25 countries.

 

DAZN is available on most connected devices including smart TVs, set-top boxes, streaming sticks, smartphones, tablets, PCs and game consoles, ensuring that fans have access to ground-breaking rights catalogue and slate of incredible content. In the UK and globally, DAZN can be accessed on Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic Smart TVs and on Games Consoles including Playstation and Xbox. Subscribers also have access to DAZN on their Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast and Apple TV and find the app on their iPhone, iPad, android and mobile.  

 

About Matchroom Boxing

After the success of snooker in the 1980s, Matchroom Sport moved into boxing with two small hall shows followed by Frank Bruno v Joe Bugner at Tottenham Hotspur’s ground – the biggest boxing event of 1987. That launched the company into the boxing big-time, a position it has maintained ever since.

 

Through the 1990s Matchroom Sport’s boxing roster featured many of the biggest names in the sport including Lennox Lewis, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Steve Collins and Naseem Hamed, all in world title fights and it continues to work with some of the biggest names in UK boxing including Audley Harrison, the 2000 Olympic Super-Heavyweight gold medalist.

 

Over the years, Matchroom Sport has built up long-standing relationships with broadcasters around the world and with the advent of the Prizefighter phenomenon, the company’s boxing division has never been in a stronger position.

 

From fantastic six round scraps between the sport’s journeymen, up to multi-million-dollar World Championship contests featuring the above fighters, the Pro Box series has it all. Each show is packed with the very best in boxing action in a series that encompasses almost 25 years of Matchroom Sport’s commitment to bringing the highest quality to the global television market.

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