Elite-level boxing lands in Abu Dhabi this weekend, when WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol puts his belt on the line against Gilberto Ramirez, on an historic night in the capital. Here are the details.
What is it?
Dmitry Bivol versus Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez, the inaugural event in the “Champion Series”, a recently announced partnership between the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and renowned promotion Matchroom Boxing.
The card, with Bivol-Ramirez at its head, features three world title fights, including a highly anticipated clash between Jessica McCaskill and Chantelle Cameron for the women's undisputed super-lightweight crown.
The event marks the first in a multi-year collaboration between Abu Dhabi and Matchroom Boxing.
When is it?
Saturday November 5.
Where is it?
Etihad Arena, home to the recent UFC 280.
At the top of the bill, one of the standout match-ups at light-heavyweight, pitting against one another two undefeated boxers. The champion, Bivol, has won all 20 professional bouts (11 by knockout), including a unanimous-decision victory against Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez last time out. The Russian has held the WBA belt for five years, and makes the ninth defence of the title.
In contrast, Ramirez moved up to 175lbs in 2019 after reigning as WBO super-middleweight champion. Since, the Mexican has gone 5-0, all by knockout, to take his pro record to 44-0 (30 KO). He sits currently as the WBA’s No 1 mandatory challenger.
In the night’s penultimate encounter, undisputed welterweight champion McCaskill drops down one division to take on WBC and IBF super-lightweight title-holder Cameron. The vacant WBA and WBO belts are also on the line.
McCaskill, 12-2 as a pro, has held the undisputed welterweight titles since 2020; before that, the American was the WBC super-lightweight champion and has held as well the WBA super-lightweight crown. At present, she sits at No 4 in ESPN’s women’s pound-for-pound rankings.
Cameron, meanwhile, is undefeated in all 15 pro bouts and has had the WBC light-welterweight title since October 2020. The Briton added the IBF belt 12 months later. Cameron comes in at No 10 in the pound-for-pound rankings.
In the card’s other championship bout, Shavkat Rakhimov and Zelfa Barrett are scheduled to face each other for the IBF super-featherweight title. Rakhimov, the No 1-ranked contender, was initially to fight champion Joe Cordina, only for the Welshman to withdraw because of serious hand injury.
From Tajikistan, Rakhimov has won 16 and drawn one of his 17 pro bouts, while England’s Barrett is 28-1. Barrett is ranked currently as the No 2 challenger at super-featherweight.
Elsewhere on the night, there’s a distinctly local flavour early on with three Emiratis added to the undercard. Sultan Al Nuaimi takes on Ecuador’s Jose Saant, Fahad Al Bloushi will meet Georgia’s Giorgi Gotchoshvili, and Majid Al Naqbi goes up against Filipino John Lawrence Ordonio.
How to watch in UAE
Tickets for the night at Etihad Arena start at Dh100, with limited VIP packages, including ringside seats, also available. Those wishing to attend can go to www.etihadarena.ae.