The WBA light heavyweight title fight between Dmitry Bivol and Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez on November 5 will take place at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
The bout, organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and Matchroom Boxing, marks the emirate’s move into hosting major boxing events.
It pits against one another two undefeated boxers, with champion Bivol 20-0 (11 KOs) having in May retained the belt with victory against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The Russian, 31, is widely considered to be among the top 10 pound-for-pound boxers in the world. He will be making the ninth defence of his WBA crown in what will be the first major title fight in the emirate.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Bivol said: “The fight with 'Zurdo' has been brewing for some time - many things have been said. Now we have the chance to take care of things with our actions in the ring, and not our words outside of the ring.”
Ramirez, meanwhile, boasts a 44-0 (30 KOs) pro record, with his past five victories coming at light heavyweight. A former titleholder at super middleweight, the Mexican is coming off a knockout win against Dominic Boesel, also in May. The victory moved Ramirez, 31, to first in line for the title shot, as he seeks to end Bivol’s near five-year reign at 175 lbs.
“I’m happy that the fight is finally happening despite all the challenges,” Ramirez said. “It’s been a long time coming and I look forward to a great night come November 5. I would fight Bivol anywhere - including Mars, but I know we’ll put on a great show in Abu Dhabi."
Both boxers will be in the capital on Wednesday alongside Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn to discuss the event. Although Bivol-Ramirez represents the first of the new “Champions Series” partnership between DCT-Abu Dhabi and Matchroom, Abu Dhabi has a rich recent history in showcasing combats sports. The UFC is a regular visitor to the emirate – the world's lead mixed martial arts promotion returns in October with UFC 280 – while Etihad Arena hosted an exhibition boxing event in May featuring five-time world champion Floyd Mayweather.
In Tuesday's release, Hearn said: “Dmitry Bivol has now secured himself with pound-for-pound status after his victory over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in May, and looks to make a hugely important defence against mandatory challenger and former world champion Gilberto Ramirez.
"The card will be stacked with world championship fights and is set to be one of the biggest nights of boxing in 2022."
Saleh Mohamed Saleh Al Geziry, director general for tourism at DCT – Abu Dhabi, added: “We are thrilled to host this spectacular boxing event in Abu Dhabi. Partnering with reputable partner Matchroom Boxing adds yet another dimension to our exciting calendar.
“Once again, the eyes of the world will be on Abu Dhabi on November 5 as we continue to strengthen our position as a top destination for world-class sport. As the host city, we are eager to share our warm Emirati hospitality to visiting fans and offer them memorable, exciting experiences to enjoy at their own pace.”
Fans can register their interest for the event at https://r1.marketing-pages.com/p/79SU-5YG/bivol-ramirez.