Ukrainian world champion Artem Dalakian sat on the challenger’s side of the table at this afternoon’s final press conference for the Artur Beterbiev vs Anthony Yarde undercard in order to avoid being photographed in front of the Russian’s picture. The 35-year-old made a stand against the ongoing RussiaUkraine war and was concerned about having Beterbiev’s face, which was displayed on the press conference backdrop, in any snaps of himself.

Dalakian defends his WBA flyweight title against David Jimenez in the co-feature attraction and so would have been set up on the right side of the table below a picture of Beterbiev. But the 115lber instead switched places with heavyweight prospect Moses Itauma to rectify the matter.

Beterbiev, who was born in Dagestan, Russia, defected to Canada, where he has been a resident for 15 years, to avoid penalties against Russian fighters. The WBC, IBF and IBO have all refused to sanction bouts under their auspices involving boxers from Russia or Belarus following both nations’ invasion of Ukraine.

“We will not sanction any fights in Russia and no Russian citizens will fight for our organisation titles,” WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told Reuters.

The current rules have made it difficult to book the pair against each other with Bivol still representing Russia in his boxing exploits. Although both champions are keen to make it happen.

“I want to be undisputed. That’s my goal. My priority is to fight for other belts. Of course, it’s a great fight. I would like to fight for his belts, and I know he wants to fight too. It’ll be a great fight. He’s a tough opponent,” said Bivol about fighting Beterbiev.

Meanwhile, Beterbiev, recently told iFL TV ahead of his clash with Yarde: “Of course, of course, I want this fight. I want this fight.”