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ABU DHABI: Both entering the ring undefeated, Dmitry Bivol and Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez have promised boxing fans a historic night to remember when they come face-to-face for the WBA world light-heavyweight title on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Etihad Arena in what represents the first world title fight held in the UAE.

The inaugural Champion Series event is organized by Matchroom Boxing and the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi.

Matchroom Sport Chairman Eddie Hearn said ahead of the bumper night of boxing: “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.”

Saturday’s bout promises an intriguing contrast of styles between reigning champion Bivol, who scored a huge upset against pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez in May to take his record to 20-0-0, and dangerous southpaw and mandatory challenger Ramirez, who has 30 knockouts from his 44 wins, including five wins since going up a weight class in 2019.

Bivol, who has spent the past five weeks in Abu Dhabi preparing for this showdown, told reporters at Thursday’s pre-fight press conference: “Thank you to the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi for this opportunity to introduce boxing to Abu Dhabi.

“I’ve been here since Sept. 27 and I feel like I’ve had everything I’ve needed for training and everything I’ve needed to rest too.

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“I believe it will be an exciting fight and maybe (in the future) boxing will become the main sport in Abu Dhabi. I hope it will as it’s my favorite sport, of course.”

Bivol first took up boxing at the age of six and believes that his upcoming opponent will be the toughest he’s faced in his professional career to date.

“My dream is to realize my full potential,” he added. “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 even me more focused.”

Meanwhile, Ramirez — the bigger of the two men — is confident he can topple one of the slickest fighters in boxing in Bivol and claim his WBA belt.

“I really believe I can become two-time world champion this Saturday,” he said. “I’ve been training hard for the fight this Saturday 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.”

As well as the main card, also stepping into the ring to make history is Jessica McCaskill and Chantelle Cameron who have vowed to go to war in the Middle East’s first women’s world title fight.

Undisputed Welterweight World Champion 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 Cameron (16-0-0, 8KOs), the WBC and IBF super-lightweight holder.

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“Chantelle, I don’t think you really understand what you’re getting yourself into on Saturday,” said McCaskill.

“The last girl I fought (Alma Ibarra) she begged with her coach to stop the fight. She wanted to go home to her kids. Now I’m moving down a weight I hope you don’t think I’m not going to bring that power, because it’s coming on Saturday.”

Cameron, though, was unconcerned by McCaskill’s pre-fight talk and 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. “Stopping her I think I’ll get a good round of applause, because they just talk too much and they don’t show anyone respect.”

Lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (8-0-0, 2KOs), son of British boxing legend Ricky, returns to the ring vying for his fourth win of 2022 having most recently defeated Michael Dufek at the Sheffield Arena in August.

Meanwhile, three Emiratis are also 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 also fight under the UAE flag.


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