Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez accepted the result of his unanimous decision defeat to Dmitry Bivol, hailing his opponent as a "great champion" after just the second loss of his career.

The Mexican came up short of claiming the WBA light heavyweight title in Las Vegas on Saturday against the Russian, who won 115-113 on all three scorecards after a 12-round bout.

His only other defeat in 61 fights coming against Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2013, Alvarez was left in an unfamiliar position.

But speaking afterwards, the 31-year-old was congratulatory of Bivol, while vowing to bounce back even stronger down the line.

"You have to accept it, it's boxing," Alvarez said. "He's a great champion. Sometimes in boxing you win and lose and I'm not giving excuses. I lost and he won."

On the possibility of whether he desired a rematch, he added: "Yeah, of course I do. "This doesn't end like this."

"This doesn't end in this way, I'm a very competitive person, I've got many years ahead of me, and I'm gonna come back stronger.

“We want the rematch, and we want to do much better in the rematch. I'm very proud and competitive. I've gone up and fought at 175lbs.

"I've gone out of my comfort zone to fight at a weight that's not mine, there's no shame in that. I'm looking for challenges that others would be scared to take on because they might lose.”

Alvarez's loss means he now moves to 57-2-2, while Bivol extends his unbeaten record to 20-0.

Dmitry Bivol won in a unanimous decision over Canelo Alvarez to retain his WBA light heavyweight title in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Using his height and longer reach to his advantage, the Kyrgyz-born Russian landed the cleaner and harder shots against Alvarez in a clinical display.

All three judges handed down scores of 115-113 in Bivol's favour despite what was largely a non-competitive fight.

Alvarez confirmed he would exercise his rematch clause and Bivol took no issue, believing the win solidifies his status in the division.

"No problem," Bivol said via translator post-fight. "I took this fight because I just wanted to get the opportunity and I appreciate this opportunity.

"I didn't fight for anything except getting the fight.

"I'm ready for the rematch, I just want to make sure that I can be treated like the champion now."

Bivol moved to 20-0 with his ninth consecutive title defence, while it marks the second official defeat of Alvarez's career in his return to light heavyweight following 2013's majority-decision loss to Floyd Mayweather.

Dmitry Bivol accepts he may not win any popularity contests in Las Vegas on Saturday night, but the Russian believes he can triumph in the ring against Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

The WBA light heavyweight belt will be on the line at the T-Mobile Arena when the fighters, both 31, go head to head in Sin City.

Mexican superstar Canelo (57-1-2) can expect strong support, while Bivol may find it in short supply.

This is a fight that some feel should not be happening, with Wladimir Klitschko having told the BBC in March that Bivol should be "forbidden from fighting in America", due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Klitschko's brother, Vitali, is mayor of Kyiv.

The WBC, IBF and IBO have said they will not sanction fights that feature boxers from Russia or Belarus, but the WBA is not taking the same stance.

Even without that factor hanging over the fight, Bivol would reasonably expect Canelo to have comfortably the greater support this weekend, given his status as a regular Vegas venue filler.

Bivol (19-0) is a 31-year-old who aligns himself just as closely to Kyrgyzstan as he does to Russia, and he is the belt holder.

While Canelo is dominant at super middleweight, stepping up from the 168lbs division to 175lbs brings with it its own challenges. He is targeting undisputed champion status in the division.

Canelo told Stats Perform: "I feel good, I feel great. Like always, I trained 100 per cent. I'm ready for Saturday.

"I feel I am at my best in 168lbs. But I'm always around 180lbs in my normal life. So I feel good. It's a challenge for me, but in this period I would love to be undisputed in 175lbs too."

Bivol will be taking on a fighter widely regarded as the pound-for-pound number one, so to beat Canelo would be the ultimate scalp.

"I don't think about whether I will be the best or something else, I just have to beat him," Bivol told Stats Perform. "I just believe in my skills, and we will see what will happens after, and then we will think about who's the best."

Should he prevail, Bivol will give greater thought about where that puts him in boxing's current pantheon.

"Of course it means I can be the best and I've realised my potential," he said. "That's what it means. We will be glad, but I don't think about the result now. I'm only thinking about the fight and not the result."

Canelo is expected to tackle Gennady Golovkin later in the year, completing a trilogy.

His status is such that Bivol is admiring of the Mexican, albeit determined to send him to the canvas. 

"He's the most popular of my opponents, I can 100 per cent say, this is one of the most known opponents," Bivol said.

BIvol is braced for the rare experience of not being a fight favourite on Saturday night, and said: "It's motivated me, and it's a new challenge for me."

Anthony Joshua's rematch with Oleksandr Usyk may yet be staged in the United Kingdom, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

Usyk outclassed Joshua to claim the WBA, WBO and IBF titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, inflicting just a second professional defeat on his opponent.

Joshua activated his rematch clause, but plans for a second bout were thrown into doubt after Usyk returned to Ukraine to defend his homeland following the Russian invasion.

However, Usyk has now started preparing for the rematch, which his promoter Alexander Krassyuk recently revealed looked set to be staged in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on Friday, though, Hearn said venues in the UK are still being considered, with an announcement due to be made later this month.

"We're in final negotiations for a couple of sites for either the end of June or early-to-mid-July," Hearn said. 

"I reckon within two weeks we'll have some news in terms of where that's going to be.

"An option is in the UK. The difference is, we don't really need negotiations with a venue in the UK, we just book it."

Anthony Joshua's rematch with Oleksandr Usyk is expected to have a date and venue finalised "within the next two weeks", according to the Ukrainian's promoter Alexander Krassyuk.

Usyk overcame Joshua to claim the WBA, WBO and IBF titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, condemning the Briton to just his second professional defeat.

Joshua activated his rematch clause, but plans for a second clash were thrown into uncertainty after Usyk returned to Ukraine to defend his country amid the ongoing invasion by Russia.

However, the 35-year-old Usyk confirmed in March that he has started his preparations for the rematch, which Krassyuk suggested last week may be staged in Saudi Arabia in late June.

Usyk's promoter Krassyuk provided another update on Monday as he told Sky Sports: "Within the next two weeks we expect to finalise details."

Joshua regained his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles in a rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019 in Saudi Arabia and could be heading back for a second time as he looks to reclaim his belts.

However, Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn have suggested they are keen on the bout taking place in the United Kingdom again.

Saudi Arabia could host Anthony Joshua's rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in late June, according to the Ukrainian's promoter Alexander Krassyuk.

Usyk outclassed Joshua to claim the WBA, WBO and IBF titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, inflicting just a second professional defeat on his opponent.

Joshua activated his rematch clause, but plans for a second bout were thrown into doubt after Usyk returned to Ukraine to defend his homeland following the Russian invasion.

However, the 35-year-old Usyk confirmed last week he has started preparing for the rematch, which may be staged in the Middle East.

"Saudi is the place we are in discussions with at the moment," promoter Krassyuk told BBC Sport. "Late June is the date we are looking at. Nothing has been confirmed on paper. We are working on it."

Joshua has fought in Saudi Arabia once before when regaining his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles in a rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in Diriyah in December 2019.

Staging the bout in the Gulf kingdom would provoke controversy due to its human rights record, and Krassyuk has not ruled out another country being selected.

"There are other options. We take it step by step," Krassyuk added.

Saudi Arabia has hosted a number of high-profile sporting events in recent years, most recently the second grand prix of this year's Formula One campaign.

Sunday's race went ahead despite a missile attack on an oil depot around nine miles from the track during Friday's practice session.

Oleksandr Usyk has confirmed he is preparing for his rematch with Anthony Joshua despite having returned to Ukraine to defend his country.

Usyk outclassed Joshua to claim the WBA Super, WBO and IBF titles in a unanimous points decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

Joshua activated his rematch clause, but the contest was initially thrown into doubt when it appeared a step-aside deal that would have allowed Usyk to face Tyson Fury instead was in place, but that reportedly fell through when money could not be agreed with Joshua's camp. 

There were further complications added when the Ukrainian fighter returned home following Russia's invasion.

However, Usyk took to Instagram on Friday to confirm the rematch will take place and that he is preparing, posting a video accompanied by the words: "I decided to start preparing for a rematch with Anthony Joshua, a large number of my friends support me, all the rest of the good and peace, Thank God for everything."

Promoter Eddie Hearn recently said Joshua could take an interim fight if he is made to wait for another bout with Usyk, but was confident the two would face each other at the end of June.

"I do think Usyk will take that fight next, we're looking at the end of June for that fight and that’s when the fight has got to take place by," Hearn said on the DAZN Boxing Show.

"If he's not ready, we'll push for an interim fight, but my gut feeling right now, and this could change is that you will be seeing Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk for the unified world heavyweight championship next."

Eddie Hearn thinks a world heavyweight title rematch between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk will take place at the end of June.

Usyk outclassed Joshua to claim the WBA, WBO and IBF titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

Plans for a second bout have been up in the air after Usyk returned to Ukraine to defend his homeland following the Russian invasion.

Hearn, Joshua's promoter, believes Usyk will be allowed to leave his country in order to step into the ring with Briton Joshua again.

Asked whether Joshua will face Usyk next, Hearn told The DAZN Boxing Show: "I think that's the most likely scenario.

"We had those conversations about a week ago and I had my doubts as to whether Usyk would be ready, but I believe now that there’s been some kind of conversations with Usyk and even [Vasily] Lomachenko as well with the government to say 'look, how do we sit in terms of competing in major sporting events'.

"I don't think Usyk's going to want to wait, once you start waiting anything can happen, so we actually had some talks this morning."

Hearn says Joshua could take an interim fight if he is made to wait for another bout with Usyk.

He added: "I do think Usyk will take that fight next, we're looking at the end of June for that fight and that’s when the fight has got to take place by.

"If he's not ready, we'll push for an interim fight, but my gut feeling right now, and this could change is that you will be seeing Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk for the unified world heavyweight championship next."

Anthony Joshua has "a number of proposals" to consider amid reports he could step aside from a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in order for Tyson Fury to fight the Ukrainian.

Usyk outclassed Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September to claim his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.

The Brit activated a clause to step into the ring with Usyk for a second time, but The Daily Telegraph revealed he could step aside for a fee of £15million to pave the way for his compatriot Fury to do battle with the 35-year-old in a unification bout in the Middle East.

Eddie Hearn, Joshua's promoter, revealed the 2012 Olympic champion has several options to mull over.

"I'm meeting with AJ and 258 management [on Tuesday] to go through plans for his next fight." he told Sky Sports.

"We have a number of proposals and options to discuss. The goal remains the same of course - to re-capture the world heavyweight crown."

Fury has not agreed a mandatory defence of his WBC strap with Dillian Whyte.

Usyk's promoter, Alexander Krassyuk, says it is up in the air over which Englishman will be his fighter's next opponent.

"We are in talks regarding the Fury fight since November," Krassyuk told Sky Sports.

"And though AJ gave his consent [reportedly] we still have not reached the final point in negotiations. And unless we get it - AJ rematch remains the basic option for us."

Eddie Hearn expects Anthony Joshua to announce who his new trainer will be either at the end of this month or early in February.

Joshua decided to shake things up after losing his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

Eddy Reynoso, Virgil Hunter and Anthony Wilson are among the trainers Joshua could recruit, while Floyd Mayweather has been giving the Briton advice ahead of an eagerly anticipated rematch with Usyk that has not yet been confirmed.

Hearn, Joshua's promoter, told iFL TV: "I think AJ will make an announcement when camp starts, which I guess will be end of January, early February.

"He's worked hard to get it right. A lot of people have said, 'do you think it's risky to bring in a new trainer?'

"I flip that and say, 'do you think it's risky to not be comfortable with your set-up or your surroundings?'"

Hearn says having a new face in Joshua's corner will not mean there is no role to play for his long-time trainer Robert McCracken.

"He'll always be involved in some way," Hearn said of McCracken.

"He's more than just a trainer to Anthony Joshua... he's a mentor, an advisor.

"Those two will always talk – in what capacity, I don't know. I'll leave that to AJ to announce. But there will certainly be additions to the training team."

Joshua was outclassed by Usyk, suffering the second defeat of his professional career after he was also surprisingly dethroned by Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.

Tyson Fury needs to defeat more of the heavyweight division to "cement his greatness", so says Shannon Briggs.

WBC champion Fury is eager to return to the ring by early 2022 following victory over Deontay Wilder in the trilogy fight between the pair in October.

But his opponent remains unclear as uncertainty lingers whether he will face Dillian Whyte, who wants to be sanctioned as the mandatory challenger for the heavyweight title.

Fury also has his eyes on a bout against Oleksandr Usyk, who claimed the WBA, WBO and IBF titles from Anthony Joshua in September.

Usyk and Joshua are set to meet again in the early months of 2022, though the latter could drop out to allow the undisputed fight and Briggs believes Fury needs to face top contenders to cement his legacy.

"I think he'll make the decision to stick around and fight guys," Briggs, who was a two-time heavyweight champion, told Stats Perform. 

"He's not very old, although he's accomplished a lot. He's had gaps in his career between lay-offs due to whatever circumstances he was dealing with. It hasn't been consistent. 

"I think that for us to cement his greatness, we need to see consistency. I think we need to see at least three to six wins from the guys in the top 10. 

"Clear out the top 10, clear out the heavyweight division, and then maybe we can say he's the greatest heavyweight of all time, due to size, due to his ability to move, his rhythm. For a big man, it's just unreal. 

"His heart, his chin – he got off the ground against one of the hardest punchers that ever lived in [Deontay] Wilder."

The undefeated Fury has 31 wins to his name, with the only blotch on his record a contentious split-decision draw against Wilder in their first clash.

Briggs appreciates the talent of 'The Gypsy King', who he implored to become more consistent to further his standing within boxing's history.

"He's shown us flashes of greatness, but we need to see one last thing," he added. 

"What makes a champion is consistency, so we need six to 10 Larry Holmes style wins, Lennox Lewis style wins, staying busy. Lennox was a busy fighter. Lennox defended his title, he fought a lot.

"We need three, four fights a year consistently for the next two years if not more. I think he's a great guy and a great fighter, but I just think we need to see consistency and consecutive wins."

Anthony Joshua stepping aside from his Oleksandr Usyk rematch would be a "great step for the heavyweight division", says former American boxer Shannon Briggs.

Joshua is set for a second bout in early 2022 with Usyk, who claimed the WBA, WBO and IBF titles on a unanimous points decision at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.

The Briton has since hinted he would step out the way for WBC champion Tyson Fury, who is awaiting a decision as to whether he has to face mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte, to challenge Usyk to crown an undisputed champion.

While believing a bout between the two British boxers, Joshua and Fury, would be an entertaining meeting, Briggs would like to see a bout to become the undisputed champion first.

"The Fury-Joshua would be a good fight," Briggs, who held a world heavyweight title twice, told Stats Perform. 

"It's a very interesting fight to analyse and to think about which Joshua is going to show up. We've got to find out which Josh was going to show up. 

"I think that if Joshua steps aside and lets Fury fight Usyk, it might not be a bad idea. I really think it might not be a bad idea, and Anthony fights the winner. 

"I think it'd be a great step for the heavyweight division, uniting the belts, and then Joshua would get the winner. He was the champion, he was the guy. I don't want to say it was a fluke, but he was upset by a great guy, a tough guy to fight. 

"I don't care who fought Usyk. Usyk is a machine. He's not like normal people. He's not like normal humans. This man can handstand on his arms for an hour. This is what I was told. This man is in phenomenal shape. 

"As the rounds go on, he gets stronger. As you can see in the Joshua fight in the 12th round, he put his foot on the gas. I think that he's going to be a tough guy to beat for Fury, for anybody. 

"Maybe not Fury because of the height and the size, but we're going to see. That's what makes it great, because the interest is there. If Joshua is to step aside and let him fight Usyk, it might not be bad. Just a thought, and then he fights the winner."

Indeed, Usyk is a phenomenal machine, having held world champion status in two weight classes while he is one of only four boxers to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO titles.

Briggs, who collected 53 of his 60 wins via knockout, appreciates the class of Usyk as he reiterated the 34-year-old's impressive abilities.

"Again, like I said earlier, the fight with Usyk is a battle," he added. "It's not an easy fight, it's a tough fight. 

"It's a 50-50 chance. [Actually], it's more like a 60-40 chance that you lose because he's in phenomenal shape, he's a freak of nature, and he's not normal. 

"On top of all of that, he's a southpaw. It's awkward, it's coming from another way. You've got to have super conditioning and step to him. 

"You've got to be able to punish him and knock him out, but you can't be boxing him from the outside. You've got to wear him down. He's slippery, he's moving, he's awkward. You've got to be in tip-top shape to beat a guy like that."

Anthony Joshua says he would consider stepping aside from his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk to allow the Ukrainian to fight Tyson Fury.

Joshua is set to fight Usyk for a second time in early 2022 after losing to the 34-year-old, who claimed the WBA, WBO and IBF belts on a unanimous points decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.

WBC Champion Tyson Fury, after defeating Deontay Wilder in the final bout of a gruelling trilogy, is waiting on a decision whether a title fight will be ordered with Dillian Whyte, who wants to be sanctioned as the mandatory challenger.

However, Fury's ambition is to fight Usyk in a battle to become the undisputed champion, leading to calls from the 'Gypsy King' for his fellow Englishman Joshua to step aside.

For the first time a Fury-Usyk bout seems a possibility, with Joshua conceding he would consider skipping the sequel temporarily for both respect in boxing and financial gain.

"I think people know not to approach me with that rubbish," Joshua told IFL TV when asked if he had been offered a deal to skip the rematch. "That is bulls***. It may have come to my team, but they know not to bring that to me.

"Let me be real, it's not about the money, it's about the respect. What I want out of this game, number one is respect. You don't have to like me, but you will respect me. 

"Second thing is to go down as a throwback fighter, somebody who was willing to fight the best in their division so people know me as a true fighter.

"In terms of [stepping] aside, I don't know if that goes in line with what I morally stand for. But let me be real, I want to be known as one of the smartest businessmen as well.

"I used to watch Tyson, Holyfield, Bowe, we all know the stories of NFL players, basketball players, they make bad decisions. I wanted to make sure I make the smart moves when it comes to this business. If the money is right, you have to look at it.

"You have to look at it. But respect to me has a lot more value than money. Respect first, what I'm known for when I leave this division, then being the smartest businessman in my career. 

"That step aside thing, it may not go with what I stand for in terms of bringing me respect, fighting the best, but it may make sense for business."

Terence Crawford stopped Shawn Porter in the 10th round to retain his WBO welterweight crown and remain unbeaten.

Crawford made it 38 wins from 38 fights thanks to Saturday's TKO as the American star successfully defended his crown in Las Vegas.

In his fifth consecutive title defence, Crawford was pushed by Porter (31-4-1), who applied relentless pressure at Michelob Ultra Arena.

But Porter eventually came unstuck in the 10th round, going down twice after being caught with a left uppercut and a right hook to the temple.

It led to Porter's father and trainer Kenny throwing in the towel in bizarre fashion.

"He's been in there with everybody," Crawford said. "He did what he could. I was just the better man tonight."

On his father's decision to stop the fight, Porter added: "He's doing what he knows he needs to do.

"I didn't expect that. We never had a conversation like that. We just have an unspoken understanding that if he sees what he needs to see, he's going to do what he did. I didn't expect that.

"Yes [I could have gone on]. The punches he was catching me [were] too clean. I think that's what my dad saw. I saw and felt it.

"I just think my timing was a little off, great fighter over there wouldn't allow me to catch my rhythm. He's a dynamite dude in and out of the ring."

Kenny Porter said: "Honestly, his preparation [on why he threw in the towel]. He didn't prepare like I wanted him to prepare. That just makes me say I don't want him in that situation.

"Shawn was hurt and moving forward, this guy is a sharp fighter and my kid is at a deficit and couldn't defend himself. I had to protect him."

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