Dmitry Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs) will be making a defense of his WBA light heavyweight belt against replacement opponent, little-known #14 IBF Malik Zinad (22-0, 16 KOs) on June 1st at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Zinad: A Questionable Choice

The 30-year-old Libayan native Zinad is replacing injured IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev as the opponent for Bivol to fight on the June 1st card. Bivol vs. Beterbiev has been postponed until later this year or in 2025.

It’s unclear whether His Excellency Turki Alalshikh chose the obscure fighter Malik Zinad himself as the opponent for Bivol, as it’s an unusual choice, given that this guy has never fought any notable top-tier opposition during his nine-year professional career and has been fighting in obscurity.

With this being a PPV card on DAZN, using Zinad as a replacement for Beterbiev as Bivol’s opponent is not a good deal for boxing fans who will be ordering the event. There are countless contenders at 175 and 168 that would jump at the chance of challenging Bivol for his WBA belt, one of them being David Morrell.

Bivol vs. Zinad is a mismatch, not worthy of being on pay-per-view, and definitely not a good fight for the main portion of the card. It won’t be competitive. We’ve already seen Bivol in a mismatch in his last fight against British fighter Lyndon Arthur, and that wasn’t remotely entertaining to watch.

It would have been better for boxing fans if a proven well known contender were selected for Bivol to fight than Zinad. It’s going to be a massive step up in class for Zinad going from fighting no-name opposition to taking one one of the best fighters in the 175-lb division in Bivol.

Fight Card Shuffle Likely

There’s no word yet whether Bivol will still fight in the main event on the June 1st card. Obviously, with Beterbiev out and fringe contender Zinad being used as his replacement, it’s not the ideal fight to headline the June 1st card.

It would be better for fans to move the Bivol vs. Zinad fight to the undercard as part of the preliminary portion of the card. There are too many better fights on the June 1st card than Bivol-Zinad, and there’s no interest in this fight at all.

A fight that I would like to see moved into the main event is the heavyweight match-up between former WBC champion Deontay Wilder and Zhilei Zhang. That’s a far better fight. Also on the undercard is the Queensberry – Matchroom 5v5 fights.


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