Day of Reckoning: Bivol vs. Arthur

Dmitry Bivol returns to the ring after a 13-month absence this weekend as he defends his WBA light heavyweight title against Britain's Lyndon Arthur.

Bivol will make the 11th defence of his crown on the undercard of the "Day of Reckoning" in Saudi Arabia, which pits some of the world's best heavyweights against each other.

The Russian was last in the ring in November 2022, while Arthur was last in action in September, so he goes into the contest with sharpness on his side.

Bet 1 - Dmitry Bivol to win @ 1/20

Light heavyweight king Bivol is back and ready to prove a point as he fights for the first time in 13 months this week.

The 32-year-old outclassed Gilbert Ramirez in November last year at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, but he has since been on the sidelines.

Bivol underwent surgery in April to try and stop the pain in his right hand, which was preventing him from training effectively. He has had reservations about throwing his right hand in previous fights, but he is now confident he can land a variety of punches without any pain.

Considering Bivol has had an injury to worry about, he has not done too bad for himself.

He has yet to lose as a professional and has 11 knockouts from 21 contests, although he has not recorded a stoppage victory in five-and-a-half years.

Still, during that time, he outclassed pound-for-pound superstar Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez over 12 rounds, using his size and reach advantage to devastating effect.

While some will look at this break as damaging, Bivol is adamant he is now fresh and fully healed ahead of a busy few months, but he will not be overlooking Manchester's Arthur.

Bivol is planning bigger and better things in 2024, and he should be able to dictate the early pace of the fight before recording a stoppage victory.

Bet 2 - Dmitry Bivol Draw No Bet @ 1/25

Like Bivol, Arthur is 32, but he has not had as much success in his career and will be fighting for the third time this year. He claimed the IBO light heavyweight title last time out, beating Braian Nahuel Suarez in the 10th round.

At 6ft 2in, Arthur is the taller of the two fighters, and he will need to use every inch of that to try to dictate from distance. In what is his first legitimate world title contest, Arthur is fighting on the biggest card of his career against one of the world's best boxers.

The Manchester fighter was expected to reappear in February, but he has jumped at the chance to test himself against the very best, and he has already pulled off a shock win in the past.

Arthur faced Anthony Yarde in December 2012 and won a split decision to stun his British rival, but he was put back in his place 12 months later when Yarde stopped him in the rematch.

Since that defeat, he has got his confidence levels back up with four successive wins, including three knockouts, but none of those victories came against anyone with Bivol's skill-set.

Sixteen knockout wins suggest Arthur possesses the power to earn Bivol's respect, but the question is, can he land a powerful punch?

Bivol's absence from the ring may be to his detriment, and if he starts slowly, Arthur needs to jump on him and try to unsettle him as best he can.

However, nothing Arthur throws at Bivol will come as a surprise, as he has ruled supreme at the top of the division for six years.

Bivol's ultimate goal will be an undisputed fight against the winner of Artur Beterbiev & Callum Smith once they clash in January, and this bout with Arthur should present him the perfect opportunity.

While he has not had a stoppage win on his CV for many years, Bivol's right hand should be better than ever, and we know Arthur is vulnerable after being stopped by Yarde.

While Bivol is not as explosive as Yarde, he should be able to wear Arthur down, who will do all he can to stay in the fight until the final bell.

A late stoppage looks the way to go in this one, with Bivol setting himself up perfectly for a shot at the undisputed crown in 2024.

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