In the span of about a year, Dmitry Bivol has emerged from a rising contender in a crowded light heavyweight division to a world champion that many believe him to be the star that will lead the 175-pound group.
But in the last year, Bivol has not had a chance to headline his own boxing card in the United States until now. Bivol will headline the November 24 HBO Boxing card from Atlantic City when he faces former world champion Jean Pascal. In a recent conference call, promoter Kathy Duva was asked by Fightful what her long-term goal is for Bivol as he continues to develop into a star in the United States.
Duva stated that this main event fight for Bivol is one for him to finally showcase his skills as a top boxer and as the lead guy for a boxing card. Bivol had fought in the United States in his last two fights, but those fights were in the co-main event to Sergey Kovalev's two WBO light heavyweight title defenses and Duva said Bivol can't become a top draw simply by fighting on the undercard.
"We've had a great run with Sergey Kovalev in Atlantic City, going up to the big sellout in August, and over a million dollar gate with Bernard Hopkins. He's Russian, Dmitry's Russian. It seems logical a charismatic young star like Dmitry, given a little time to develop, can develop a fan following there if that's what World of Boxing wants him to do. We'd be happy to help them. Sergey took three bouts, three appearances there to make it to that sold out arena. It does take time, it doesn't happen overnight. This is a big step in my view in Dmitry's career stepping up to the main event for the first time. Nobody ever became a star on the undercard. This is the beginning of a journey. We're always happy to be going back to our home in Atlantic City," Duva said.
Bivol will be making his third world title defense and second straight appearance at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Bivol's last fight saw him defeat Isaac Chilemba with the fight being televised on HBO. The November 24 card is the second-to-last live boxing card HBO will air before ultimately shutting down regular boxing broadcasts starting in 2019.