It was supposed to be the biggest fight of his career on June 1, when he wanted to ascend to the throne of an undisputed light heavyweight champion. Dmitry Bivol had the perfect opportunity to cement his legacy as he spearheaded the Matchroom vs. Queensberry 5×5 card. But now he finds himself pushed down the card, with Artur Beterbiev pulling out with an injury. The WBA champion will now defend his gold strap against Malik Zinad. Will he impress or falter inside the squared circle?

Bivol could have sat out and waited on Beterbiev; instead, he decided to stay active and picked up the name thrown his way. He is about to touch his twilight years and can’t afford to be a victim of ring rust. Meanwhile, he is up against a relatively unknown name and can’t afford to underperform or come into the fight underprepared. So will the Kyrgyzstani native secure a win and set up a date with Beterbiev later this year? But what about Zinad, the IBF #2, who is ready to burst on the biggest stage? Let’s take a look at how both fighters stack up before their electrifying clash.

Dmitry Bivol vs. Malik Zinad: Tale of the tape


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Bivol, 33, is the elder and more experienced of the two and boasts a splendid, unblemished record of 22-0. He has racked up 11 of those wins by flooring his opponent. Bivol has carved out an image of a tactical fighter and knows how to churn out victories over the course of 12 rounds. In addition, his KO ratio of 50% suggests a perfect blend of carnage and technicality. However, the Russian gives away the size advantage, as he stands tall at 6’0″ (183 cm) and has a reach of 72.0″ (183 cm).

Zinad is in prime at 30, and the fighter hailing from Libya has a slightly larger frame at 6’1″ (185 cm). Nothing separates the two on paper, as he also holds a symmetrical record of 22-0. The last time he stood on the scales, he weighed 174.5 lbs (79.2 kg), which is almost identical to Bivol’s 174.6 lbs (79.2 kg). But where the Pieta resident diverges is how well he has utilized his bigger frame to the fullest.

He packs power behind his punches, which is how he has racked up 16 wins through knockouts. His KO ratio of 72% paints a picture of a fan-friendly style. The promise of fireworks and exciting action from his side prompted the Saudi Arabian organizers to put him in the same ring as Bivol. But does he have what it takes to pull off an upset against one of the most perfect technical boxers in the division?

Recent form, momentum, and fighting styles

Zinad comes into the fight on the heels of the biggest win of his career, as he outpointed Jerome Pampellone this April. ‘The Trigger’ ended his 13-month layoff with that victory in the IBF semifinal eliminator of sorts, indicating his ability to perform well in big fights. But his resume leaves a lot to be desired, as he has fought mostly fighters positioned outside the top 10. However, you can expect him to be in top physical fitness, having fought very recently.

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Interestingly, the former WBC Mediterranean light heavyweight champion relies on his jab, throws his arms long, and lands a heavy right hand. It’s almost the same style that Lyndon Arthur employs, who most recently fought Bivol and troubled him. Moreover, he has no baggage of expectation and no pressure on him. Therefore, Zinad is in a perfect situation to do the unthinkable. It’s the same scenario to which Bivol is well accustomed. Nobody gave him the chance when he fought Canelo Alvarez, and he secured the upset of the year.


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While the 2013 World Combat Games medalist impressed viewers in his last fight against Arthur, he also stumbled in the fight. He was rocked in the eighth round of the fight when overconfidence took over. But he squeezed out the win. What’s troublesome for him is his inactivity. The undefeated champion has fought only twice since his win against Alvarez in 2022, which should have propelled his career. He now faces a power puncher, who can take him down with one of his shots. Can he cling to his desire to be the undisputed champion next and not waver?

Prediction: Who wins it?

The straightforward answer is that the champion retains his title. Bivol is smart, has an exceptional, precise jab that also stings, has a good high-guard defense, has extremely fast hands, and fights off the back foot. He not only uses jabs to control pace and distance but also to set up combinations of his own before his opponent has had a chance to throw a punch. And he knows what is at stake.


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While Zinad has a huge opportunity and can come out all guns blazing, he has to turn in the performance of his career. That’s where his lack of elite-level experience might hold him back. If he loses but gives the champion a run for his money, he will win the hearts of the fans. But Bivol has done it before; can Zinad do it too? The possibility can’t be discarded.

What do you make of this coming fight between Dmitry Bivol and Malik Zinad? Who do you think will leave the night as the champion? Let us know in the comments below.