WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol returns to the ring on November 24 when he headlines HBO World Championship Boxing from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Bivol will defend his title against Jean Pascal.
Your last win was solid but not exciting. Do you need to make a statement against Pascal?
“I believe that I have to make a statement in every fight, not only against Pascal. Boxing is a sport that is very unique in the sense that not always everything happens exactly how you plan for it. Many things depend on your opponent — like whether he wants to fight or survive — and other factors. Just like life, boxing is unpredictable, and that is always exciting. Luckily Pascal is the type of fighter who likes to engage, to fight. That is how he became a world champion. So, with our styles, I am confident that I will make a statement because it will be an exciting all-action fight. Pascal is a great competitor and the biggest name I have faced as a world champion. I have trained hard to make this a memorable fight and to stay world champion.
“All my life I have wanted to headline HBO World Championship Boxing and now I am only days away from making a dream of mine come true. The historical significance of this event is not lost on me. It is an honor to be in the main event of the final show of such a great series.”
Do you feel that you are now the main man carrying the flag for Russia in boxing, and is that added pressure?
“I honestly do not feel that I am the main man in Russian boxing today. There are other good boxers from Russia. But I do feel that I am a representative of the good boxing coming out of Russia — a symbol of how great Russian boxing has become and how much greater it can be. I try not to think about it too much and I don’t let this add any additional pressure on me.
“In reality, it’s not important for me to be the best or to be considered the best. What is important to me is that I train hard to be the best that I can be and that I do my best inside the ring for every fight. I want my fans to enjoy my fights and keep following my career. I do not want to let them down. The only way to do that is by totally dedicating myself to my craft and giving my all every day I put on the gloves.”