Dmitry Bivol and Gilberto Ramirez at the final press conference. — Supplied photo
Dmitry Bivol and Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, two undefeated gladiators, vow boxing fans a historic night to remember as they clash for the WBA world light-heavyweight title at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
The first world title fight to be held in the UAE comes as part of the inaugural Champion Series event organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi and Matchroom Boxing. Also, Jessica McCaskill and Chantelle Cameron will step into the ring for the Middle East’s first women’s world title fight.
Bivol, the Russian champion, and Ramirez, the Mexican challenger, haven’t tasted defeat yet. Bivol is on a 20-0 run, including 11 knockout wins and a huge result over pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez in May. ‘Golden Southpaw’ Ramirez has 30 knockouts from his 44 wins.
Bivol, who has been training in Abu Dhabi since September 27, is ready for the intriguing contest.
“It will be an exciting fight and maybe (in the future) boxing will become the main sport in Abu Dhabi,” the 31-year-old said.
Bivol said that Ramirez presents his toughest opponent ever of his career.
“I try to be hungry and angry every time I need to focus on training and my opponents. This Saturday night will be the hardest fight of my career and this makes me even more focused.”
Ramirez, a former WBO super middleweight, is confident he can floor Bivol and claim his WBA belt.
“I really believe I can become a two-time world champion this Saturday. I’ve been training hard for the fight and I will take the belt for sure. I want to continue my legacy and become a legend. I hope the people enjoy the fight because this is the type of fight that people want to see.”
Meanwhile, undisputed welterweight world champion Jessica McCaskill (12-2-0, 5KOs) has dropped down a weight for the first time in three years to further enhance her pound-for-pound credentials against undefeated Chantelle Cameron (16-0-0, 8KOs), the WBC and IBF super-lightweight holder.
“Chantelle, I don’t think you really understand what you’re getting yourself into on Saturday. The last girl I fought (Alma Ibarra) she begged with her coach to stop the fight. She wanted to go home to her kids,” said McCaskill.
Cameron predicted that the contest will not go the full 10 rounds.
“When I land on your chin you’re going to see your face drop,” added Cameron.
Also, three Emiratis are set to feature on the card, including Sultan Al Nuaimi, a two-time national amateur champion and undefeated super-flyweight with five knockouts from his eight wins. Fahad Al Bloushi and Majid Al Naqbi will fight under the UAE flag.
Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn said the event will further cement the emirate’s status as a global capital of combat sports.
“It’s all about making Abu Dhabi a destination for the elite level of the sport. On Saturday night we bring you an incredible night of boxing. There’s a lot of talk at the moment about how fights are falling through and not happening, so Saturday night is a celebration of how great this sport is.”
Doors to the arena open from 6 pm on Saturday.
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