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"He should know sports and politics is different" - Dmitry Bivol reacts to Wladimir Klitschko's call to ban Russian boxers

Klitschko vs Anthony Joshua (left) and Dmitry Bivol (right)
Klitschko vs Anthony Joshua (left) and Dmitry Bivol (right)
Luke Beirne

Dmitry Bivol has responded to former Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko's recent call to ban Russian boxers from the sport due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces.

Wladimir Klitschko's brother Vitali, also a former Heavyweight Champion, is the current mayor of Kyiv. Klitschko recently stated that Dmitry Bivol should not be allowed to defend his title against Canelo Alvarez this weekend because he is Russian.

Certain sports, such as soccer and tennis, have already banned Russian athletes from competition. Bivol, who has personally condemned the war, was asked what he thought of Klitschko's comments by iFL TV.

Expressing disappointment. Bivol said:

"All his career I support him. I liked how he was fighting and of course I was glad when he won. And, he is sportsman - he should know sports and politics is different. He was an athlete but now he is politics. It is sad that he, athlete, wants to shake it up, mix sport and politics.”

In response to the war in Ukraine, the WBA removed Russian athletes from its ranking board. It also banned the Russian flag and national anthem from any bouts that it sanctions.

Bivol has said that he has no problem with the absence of the Russian national anthem or flag at his bout, but he does not support a ban on athletes based on their nationality.

While other sports are sanctioning Russian athletes due to the war on Ukraine, Dmitry Bivol takes on boxing's most high profile star, Canelo Alvarez on Saturday: buff.ly/3FtEXPS#CaneloBivol https://t.co/tSFVC2k4O2

Check out the full interview with Dmitry Bivol here:

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Dmitry Bivol vs. Canelo Alvarez

Bivol will fight on Saturday, defending his belt against undisputed Super Middleweight Champion and pound-for-pound-best Canelo Alvarez.

Bivol is the underdog in the fight on Saturday, despite being the reining champion. He has spent his life boxing, beginning in the sport at five years old in Kyrgyzstan, where he was born.

He moved to Russia with his family at the age of 11. Ethnically, he is Moldovan-Korean. He won multiple European and world gold medals as an amateur before making his professional debut in 2014.

With a current record of 19-0, Bivol is undefeated. He has beaten the likes of Jean Pascal and Joe Smith Jr., and hopes to become the undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion of the world.

That time Andre Ward was in Dmitry Bivol’s camp watching him train for Sullivan Barrera https://t.co/LOGQPQUrbO

Edited by Harvey Leonard

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