Does IBO Champ King Lyndon Arthur Have a Shot at Dmitry Bivol?
Editorial By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
‘King’ Lyndon Arthur, who has split two bouts with Anthony Yarde, now holds the International Boxing Organization World Light Heavyweight title, perhaps the most significant titular win in the 175 pounds division for a British fighter since John Conteh won the vacant World Boxing Council World Light Heavyweight title by 15 round decision over Jorge Ahumada since December 1974 at Wembley Arena.
Arthur, 23-1 with 16 knockouts, Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom, well behind on points, down in the fourth round, and taking an overall beating from Braian Nahuel Suarez, now 18-2 with 17 knockouts, Hurlingham, Buenos Aires, Argentina, when he pulled a rabbit out of the hat and knocked out Suarez with what appeared to be a precise liver shot or body shot at 2:55 of the tenth round, at Bolton Whites Hotel (De Vere Whites), Bolton, United Kingdom, winning the vacant IBO World Light Heavyweight title, the so-called fifth title. Arthur versus Suarez was a brutal war, with Arthur taking the majority of the blows.
Arthur, who is no Floyd Mayweather Jr., fought much of the bout with his left hand down, getting tagged repeatedly by the overhand right of Suarez, and lefts as well. Suarez chased Arthur down, cut off the ring, and attacked Arthur along the ropes and in corners. This sort of style flaw would make Arthur prime Grade A meat for the likes of Dmitriy Bivol and Arthur Beterbiev, who hold the more important and critical WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO world light heavyweight titles. Bivol and Beterbiev consider Arthur a viable opponent now, especially Beterbiev, who has already knocked out Lyndon Arthur rival Anthony Yarde.
With Joe Smith Jr. fighting Gilberto Ramirez, if ‘King’ Arthur is not immediately going after the other world champions, Arthur will fight an IBO light heavyweight world title defense, perhaps against as former world title challenger Craig Richards. For Arthur to have a real chance against the world champions at the top, though, he has to fix the flaws in his boxing style. His defense is suspect against heavy hitters because his low left leaves Arthur too prone to cuts and stoppages. In addition, Arthur takes too much punishment early, which leaves him too susceptible to getting stopped or knocked out early, as Yarde did to Arthur in the fourth round of their rematch at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Hackney Wick United Kingdom in December 2021.
Arthur has a shot at Bivol or Beterbiev in 2024, who would be happy to fight Arthur in a unification bout. To have any chance at winning, Arthur has to shore up his defense, and move into the offensive mode immediately in round one. If not, Bivol or Beterbiev will close the show. Beterbiev fights challenger Callum Smith next at Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada, on January 13, 2024, in defense of his IBF, WBC and WBO World Light Heavyweight titles. Bivol has been inactive for one year due to injury, and is due to fight again in November 2023, according to promoter Eddie Hearn. All things considered, Arthur could possibly be a candidate for Bivol if he wants the bout. Contenders and former world champions Joe Smith Jr. and Gilberto Ramirez will fight next at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Chelsea Ballroom on October 7, 2023, in an attempt to get another shot at a 175 pounds world title.
‘King’ Lyndon Arthur is represented by Wasserman Boxing, with whom he signed a promotional contract in July 2022. Arthur sparred in Canada for WBC, WBO and IBF World Light Heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev for his titular defense unification bout victory over Joe Smith Jr. in the Spring of 2022. Beterbiev and Arthur know each other well. Wasserman Boxing, who acquired Team Sauderland.
According to Arthur, the sort of promoter his team wanted was “Someone who will get behind me and give me the best opportunities. Wasserman Boxing did that. I instantly had a good feeling about what they could do for me, and they sounded as happy to work with me as I was with them. You don’t want to get that feeling you’re (on) the B-side (of a promoted bout) when you’re working with a promotion (promoter). I understand it’s business. Wasserman (Boxing) have been welcoming, and shown they want to put work into me (work with me).”
The co-promoter of Bivol, Matchroom Boxing, on behalf of Team Bivol, has begun negotiations for Dmitry Bivol to defend his World Boxing Association World Light heavyweight title in a unification bout with IBO champion Arthur in December 2022. If the Bivol versus Arthur negotiations fall through, Arthur would instead make a mandatory IBO defense against former British Light Heavyweight champion 17-3-1 Craig Richards of London, a former world title challenger who lost a close 12 round decision to Bivol at Manchester Arena in May 2021.