Dmitry Bivol Has Artur Beterbiev On His Radar
By: Hans Themistode
Two belts were on the line this past Friday night, at the Liacouras Center, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Center stage stood Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs). Their contest would not only decide a unified champion in the Light Heavyweight division, but it would also give credence to the winner as the best that the division has to offer.
It was your classic puncher vs. boxer contest, as Beterbiev had never seen the end of a contest, stopping each of his previous opponents inside of the distance. Gvozdyk on the other hand, had plenty of power in his own right but was known as the boxer between the two.
The opening few rounds saw Gvozdyk stay on the outside and box. He in no way wanted to turn this matchup into a slug fest. Beterbiev however, wanted exactly that.
Gvozdyk looked good early on. His boxing abilities were on full display, but Beterbiev was getting closer and closer as the rounds went by. As the contest went on, the ring began to get smaller and smaller for Gvozdyk. It was only a matter of time before Beterbiev would land his mark. He did exactly as previously stated in the tenth round. Gvozdyk was dropped not once, but three times in the round, forcing the referee to put an end to the matchup.
Beterbiev didn’t just wrap an extra title around his already gold minted waist, but he also sent a message to the rest of the division.
One man who seen the performance by Beterbiev and was impressed by it, was current WBA belt holder Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs).
The undefeated belt holder has long been awaiting his turn for a big fight. With a new unified champion in the division, he made it clear that he is more than willing to make that fight happen.
“Of course, there is a desire to fight Beterbiev,” said Bivol. “The fact that he now has two belts will intrigue me.”
The possibility of adding more belts to his collection isn’t the only thing that is interesting to Bivol. The performance that Beterbiev put on display was eye catching. Unlike other fighters who might run away from such a difficult challenge, Bivol is inviting it.
“Beterbiev showed that he can work very well and that he is well prepared for this kind of event,” said Bivol as he gushed over Beterbiev’s performance. “Gvozdyk started well, and there were ideas to neutralize Beterbiev’s right hand. And in the middle of the fight, Beterbiev even seemed to be tired. However, several serious punches to the body created serious damage to Gvozdyk.”
Fans that are currently skeptical of these two champions ever meeting in the ring have nothing to fear.
“We’ll see what happens with Gvozdyk-Beterbiev,” said Bivol’s promoter Eddie Hearn before the Gvozdyk vs Beterbiev contest took place. “I would have no problem putting him in with the winner of that fight. If they wanna do it on ESPN, no problem at all, because I think it’s the right fight. I want Dmitry Bivol to actually achieve a legacy in this sport, and to do that, you’ve gotta be in those kinds of fights.”
With the promotional side of things seemingly out of the way, fans can see a possible showdown between Bivol and Beterbiev take place, sooner rather than later.
Usyk vs. Witherspoon, Bivol vs. Castillo Fight Previews
By: William Holmes
Oleksandr Usyk will return to the ring nearly a year after he was last seen competing. On Saturday night he will be facing last minute replacement Chazz Witherspoon at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. This will be Usyk’s long anticipated heavyweight debut.
Usyk was originally scheduled to face kickboxing legend Tyron Spong, but a positive test for Clomiphene has derailed that match. Instead, thirty eight year old veteran Chazz Witherspoon will be taking his spot.
Eddie Hearn stated at the final press conference, ““When you get a call like I did on Monday that Tyrone Spong had failed a drug test, you need to move quickly or there is a chance that there is no show at all. We want to say a special thank you to Chazz Witherspoon. He has been undefeated for nearly six years now and we have talked to him about a bunch of different fights of the years. He stepped up here to take a shot at Oleksandr Usyk and we are grateful.”
The co-main event of the evening will be between Dmitry Bivol and Lenin Castillo for Bivol’s WBA Light Heavyweight title.
Other fighters on the undercard include Anthony Sims Jr., Jessica McCaskill, Charles Conwell, Patrick Day, and TJ Doheny.
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Dmitry Bivol (16-0) vs. Lenin Castillo (20-2-1); WBA Light Heavyweight Title
Dmitry Bivol has been angling for a big fight, but appears to have trouble getting other light heavyweight champions into the ring with him.
He’s 28 years old, three years younger than his opponent, and still in the midst of his athletic prime. Castillo will have about a two inch height advantage on Bivol. Both boxers have moderate power. Castillo has stopped fifteen of his opponents while Bivol has stopped eleven.
Both boxers also have had successful amateur careers. Castillo competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics while Bivol was a Russian Amateur Champion.
Both boxers have been fairly active. They both fought three times in 2018 and once in 2019. However, Bivol has clearly faced the better opposition.
Bivol has defeated the likes of Joe Smith Jr., Jean Pascal, Isaac Chilemba, Sullivan Barrera, Trent Broadhurst, Cedric Agnew, and Samuel Clarkson. Bivol has won three decisions in a row and never tasted defeat as a professional.
Castillo has defeated the likes of Reinaldo Gonzalez, John Cortez, and Aaron Mitchell. His losses were to Marcus Browne and Joseph Williams.
This is a fight that Bivol should win rather decisively. An impressive stoppage may help raise his profile to help him reach his goal of unifying the light heavyweight titles.
Oleksandr Usyk (16-0) vs. Chazz Witherspoon (38-3); Heavyweight Division
The original planned fight between Usyk and Spong was intriguing in that it put together two combat sport athletes from different genres in a ring together. Usyk was still considered the favorite, but it would have been interesting.
Unfortunately for fight fans, Witherspoon does not appear to bring the same intrigue into this bout as Spong did.
Witherspoon is thirty eight years old, past his prime, and will only have a slight one inch height advantage despite this being Usyk’s first fight in the heavyweight division. Not only is Usyk six years younger than Witherspoon, but he also has the edge in amateur experience. Usyk was a gold medalist in the 2012 Summer Olympics while Witherspoon was a former Golden Gloves Heavyweight Champion, but nearly fifteen years ago.
Both boxers have moderate power, with Witherspoon having twenty nine stoppages on his resume to Usyk’s twelve. However, Usyk has been more active despite this being his first fight in 2019. Usyk fought three times in 2018 and twice in 2017. Witherspoon fought once in 2019, once in 2018 and zero times in 2017.
Witherspoon has wins against Jonathan Haggler, Ty Cobb, and Santander Silgado but nobody really of note. He has losses to Seth Mitchell, Tony Thompson, and Chris Arreola.
Usyk has defeated the likes of Tony Bellew, Murat Gassiev, Mairis Briedis, Marco Huck, Michael Hunter, Thabiso Mchunu, Krzysztof Glowacki, Pedro Rodriguez, and Johnny Muller. He has no defeats as a profressional.
Unfortunately, this appears to be a fight that Usyk should win rather easily. They say every fighter has a puncher’s chance, and that might be the only chance that Witherspoon has on Saturday.
Interview with Dmitry Bivol: “Of Course I Want It, But The Other Champions Are Busy”
By: Vishare Mooney
“Of course I want it, but the other champions are busy,” said WBA Champion Dmitry Bivol, (16-0, 11KOs) when asked about his long wait for a unification bout and referring to his peers in the light heavyweight division. Oleksandr Gvozdyk (WBC titleholder) fights Artur Beterbiev (IBF titleholder) on October 18th, and two weeks later, Sergey Kovalev (WBO champion) will entertain Canelo Alvarez’s first bid in this talent packed division. Rather than wait, Bivol will stay busy, fighting the most available and formidable opponent, Dominican boxer Lenin Castillo (20-2-1, 15KOs) in Saturday’s fight in Chicago’s Wintrust arena, a co-feature to the Usyk vs. Witherspoon heavyweight main event, promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and streamed by DAZN.
This is Bivol’s sixth defense of the WBA light heavyweight title, and despite not yet having the opportunity to fight for the other belts, his dominance in the ring with his powerful and fluid movements continues to gain the attention of fans and fighters. Bivol recently sat down for a talk with Boxing Insider, during the last days of his fight camp at Combinations Boxing Academy, a new gym owned by Freddie Roach protege, Marvin Somodio in Lawndale, CA. Amiable and relaxed, with long time trainer Gennady Mashianov and manager Vadim Kornilov in the background, Bivol talked boxing, life, and a potential move to Los Angeles. You can see our interview on Instagram @boxingInsidercom.
Photo: Lucas Noonan
At times we see shades of Gennady Golovkin in the Russian/Korean Bivol, the kind of fighter that is humble outside the ring and a terror to his opponents inside the squared circle. Indeed, Bivol was born eight years later than Golovkin, in 1990, in Krygyzstan, neighbor to Golovkin’s birthplace, Kazakhstan. His mother is Russian born, Korean descent while his father is Moldovan. Bivol moved to St. Petersburg when he was 11 and has boxed since he was 6.
During Bivol’s early childhood in Kyrgyzstan, Jackie Chan was an early hero and he started off in martial arts. “Why do you like him,”I asked. “I like that he’s funny and that..” said Bivol, he turned to Kornilov and spoke Russian. Kornilov translates, ““that he is a good person and he will try to defeat negative powers using his skills.”
His stint in karate was short lived. At their local gym, which was split between karate and boxing, Bivol and his father noticed the boxing scene had far more competitions. Bivol noticed the fighters got more medals..he wanted the medals. “I wanted to get more medals, I counted them every time I got one.” Bivol estimates he has around 60 medals, symbols of a stellar amateur career which included 268 wins and 15 losses, including 2 world championships at the junior level.
Bivol turned pro in 2014, though not without reservations. “When I was younger, I saw boxing on TV and I understand that if you want to be a great boxer you have to go pro, but my boxing style was different and I thought I can’t be a good pro boxer, but Gennady said to me, “you can, you have to go pro. I thought no, no I can’t but when I went to America I had a couple sparrings here against pro boxers, I thought, oh, maybe I can.” Mashianov has been Bivol’s coach since 2010 during the height of his amateur career up until now. Perhaps Bivol’s overall success has as much to do with Mashianov’s constant tweaking of his athlete’s abilities as well as Bivol’s natural talent. In observing the pair, Mashianov is ever vocal in his adjustments to Bivol’s form in mittwork and during sparring sessions.
When asked about his opponents, it’s apparent Bivol does his research and can make adjustments midfight. On his March fight UD win against powerhouse puncher Joe Smith Jr. Bivol noted, “Joe Smith is a really dangerous fighter, he’s strong. When he punched me with right hand I felt it with all my body. I felt that I can beat him all fight and I have to be in control.. But he is a little bit slower than I expected of him..I saw his punches,,but one punch I didn’t see, he got me.’ The one punch, referring to Smith’s clipping him at the bell in round ten. Bivol stormed back in the twelfth round decisively winning the fight.
On last year’s win against veteran Jean Pascal, he noted that Pascal favored hooks exclusively and modified his fight plan accordingly. “He has good hooks, he didn’t use straights or uppercuts..and he’s fast..he’s strong too. When I punched Pascal, he threw one hook, he didn’t get me but I saw it’s really fast, so I thought I can’t be next to him I have to use only my straight.” On upcoming fight with Castillo, Bivol surveys him as a good counter puncher with a strong chin and respects his Olympic boxing pedigree.
Bivol wants most to fight Canelo of course and is well aware of Canelo’s strengths. “He has a good defense. This is really good for boxers, not many boxers have a good defense. He has a good defense and he is fast, he is quick and he is powerful for a middleweight, maybe for heavyweight? We will see.”
As our conversation tapered off away from ring talk, we remembered his friend Maxim Dadashev, who tragically passed away last July from injuries sustained during his light welterweight bout with Subriel Matias. Both Bivol and Dadashev met in 2003 grew up in St. Petersburg and went through the amateur system together, celebrated milestones together, both married with young children. “It’s really sad but we chose this. And I love boxing, and I think Maxim chose the same way. Because when he was boxing, when he was in competition, he was great, he felt like he was living. This is our life.”
It was time to wrap up our conversation, with one more sparring session to go, Bivol was to leave for Chicago for fight week. My parting question was to ask about his thoughts in America, would he ever consider moving here? “I like Russia, of course. I like that my parents live there. I have a lot of friends there and the culture this is why I want to be in Russia. But of course in America I see a lot of pluses, maybe for my kids to get an education here.”
Would you live in California? “I would like to live in California. If I move to USA, I choose LA.”
Where is Dmitry Bivol’s Big Fight?
By: Shane Willoughby
Where is Dmitry Bivol?
In the eyes of many boxing fans, the most intriguing division is Light Heavyweight. If you look at the young fighters coming up and the fighters already at world level, the division is an absolute minefield. No matter how you look at it there isn’t an easy road to a title.
Dmitry Bivol is seen by many as the best fighter in the division and the WBA Super champion has a perfect record to support that. Whilst the division has other great fighters with the likes of Kovalev, Beterbiev and Gvodzyk, Bivol is definitely the best technically.
However, since signing with Eddie Hearn, Bivols career hasn’t propelled to the levels that would have been expected. One thing Hearn prides himself on is keeping his fighters active, but the Russian has been with Matchroom for 8 months and has only fought in one keep busy fight, and he doesn’t appear to be in any negotiations for any bouts right away.
Bivol looked impressive in his points win over Joe Smith Jr but I can’t imagine that fight being the one he wanted when signing with Hearn.
When we look at how the division is going the WBA champion may have made a massive mistake joining DAZN. When you look at his rivals and the fights they have lined up, it’s an absolute disgrace that someone with Bivol’s ability is sitting on the bench; void of big fights.
Beterbiev and Gvodzyk look set for a fight in October, which is a massive unification. Kovalev is taking one of the most promising prospects in boxing in Anthony Yarde this month, and Jean Pascal just defeated the former interim champion, Marcus Browne.
It looks as if Hearn has done a massive disservice for arguably the best Champion in his roster. However, there was talks of Bivol taking on Canelo which would be a massive fight for the Russian but to say that fight is unlikely is an understatement.
One of the big problems with Bivol is the fact that he is a fantastic fighter but doesn’t have that commercial pull. If you also consider the fact that Hearn doesn’t have any other top fighters at 175 it’s going to be difficult for him to find a big fight.
Regardless of who Bivol fights next, he needs to return to the ring and Eddie Hearn needs to prioritising his champion before he loses him.
DAZN Boxing Results: Bivol Outclasses a Game Smith Jr.
By: Sean Crose
The Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York hosted the WBA light heavyweight title match between Dmitry Bivol and Joe Smith Jr on Saturday night. First, however, the 17-1 Callum Johnson of Britain fought the 29-2 New Yorker Seanie Monaghan in a ten round light heavyweight affair. Johnson moved forward and took advantage in the first, hitting Monaghan cleanly throughout. Monaghan got bloodied and battered in the second. Then he got knocked down twice. He survived the round, however, then insisted to his corner that he wanted to continue. About thirty seconds into the third, referee Charlie Fitch stepped in and stopped the fight – wisely – for Monaghan was sustaining serious damage.
Photo Credit:Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
Next up, the 25-0-3 Maurice Hooker defended his WBO super lightweight title against the 21-0-1 Mikkel LesPierre in a scheduled 12 round affair. Hooker, who had great difficulty making weight for the fight, edged the first through ring generalship and some clean shots. The second round was rather exciting, with both men landing well, but, again, Hooker looked to have edged it. LesPierre seemed rather lethargic in the third, essentially letting the champion have his way. The fourth pretty much saw more of the same, with Hooker dominating. LesPierre tried to become more aggressive in the fifth, but ended up getting the worst of it, thanks to Hooker’s power punching.
LesPierre proceeded to up the intensity level of his aggression in the sixth, but was unable to capitalize fully, as Hooker simply appeared to be the more skillful fighter. The seventh and eighth rounds followed the same general pattern as the entire fight had up until that point. Then, in the ninth, Hooker dropped his man with a body shot. LesPierre was able to get up and beat the count, but time was running out on his hopes to win a world title. There had been talk that Hooker’s weight drain would impact his performance, but the tenth and eleventh rounds indicated the Texan was easily holding onto his WBO belt. Hooker cruised through the twelfth, then went on to be awarded a UD win.
It was time for the main event. Smith, 24-2, entered the ring a prohibitive underdog. Still, like the 15-0 Bivol, Smith spent the minutes before the opening bell wearing a look of icy determination. The first round saw Smith employing effective aggression while Bivol was able to land the cleaner shots. Bivol outskilled Smith in the second. Although Smith may have been the tougher of the two fighters, Bivol’s skill set told the tale. Still, Smith wasn’t without his own skill set (no pure brawler, he), which meant Bivol had to be cautious and fight smart, which the Russian did in the third. At the end of the fourth, it appeared as if Smith might have to employ roughhouse tactics in order to start making an impact on his foe.
Smith bulled his way through the fifth, almost taking the round. Bivol, however, actually began moving his man back in the sixth. Bivol’s high level of expertise was clearly above his opponent’s. Furthermore, it appeared as if Bivol was beginning to physically break Smith down in the seventh. The eighth saw Bivol continue to beat his man up while refusing to brawl with the rugged Smith. So frustrated was Smith by the ninth, that he tossed Bivol to the floor. The fight had gotten monotonous by the tenth – but it was at the end of that round that Smith truly rocked his man. Bivol actually began to stagger back to his corner. Riding on momentum, Smith was in full attack mode in the eleventh. Bivol spent the round looking a bit diminished, possibly giving it to Smith. Bivol came back to dominate the final round – even having Smith hurt on the ropes when the final bell sounded.
The defending champion ended up leaving the ring with his belt, courtesy of a unanimous decision nod from the judges.
Dmitry Bivol: The New Man to Beat
By: Hans Themistode
The Light Heavyweight division is one of the very best in all of boxing. It just doesn’t receive the fanfare that many of the other divisions do. Why is that? From top to bottom the division is stacked. Artur Beterbiev, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Sergey Kovalev and Dmitry Bivol are all title holders. The list of contenders stretch about a mile long. From former two division champion Badou Jack to hot prospect turned contender Marcus Browne the division is a never ending sea of proven excellent fighters.
So once again why is the Light Heavyweight division not given as much attention when compared to other divisions? That question just doesn’t have a solid answer now does it? One theory is that Sergey Kovalev dominated the division with so much ease for so many years that it was simply overlooked. Now that the grip of Kovalev has loosened, more attention should be paid attention.
Declaring who is the best in a division that is riddled with so much talent is a hard task. Kovalev seems like the logical choice. Back to back losses to former pound for pound star and future hall of famer Andre Ward seemed to push him to the back of the line. However his last bout against Eleider Alvarez showed that he still has plenty left in the tank. With that being said, it is also clear that he is no longer the dominant force he once was. How about the remaining three champions?
They all have a compelling argument that can be made as to why they belong at the top of the list. Sure we can sit here and discuss the fact that no one has ever stepped inside of the ring with Beterbiev and survived the full 12 rounds. We can also discuss how great Gvozdyk looked in his contest against Adonis Stevenson. They both have rightful claims to the the throne. Both however fall short to WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.
The aforementioned Bivol possesses everything that the previously mentioned champions have and more. Power, movement, boxing ability, ring IQ. You name it and Bivol has it.
The WBA champion will be placing his title on the line against Joe Smith Jr this weekend in what should be an interesting matchup. Make no mistake about it, Bivol will dispatch of Smith Jr, that much is clear.
It is getting increasingly more difficult for Bivol to test himself against the very best in his division. The word avoided is a harsh one but no one is in a rush to face the current WBA belt holder, that much is clear. All Bivol needs is the opportunity to prove that he is the best in his stacked division. Make no mistake about it. Bivol is the man to beat in the Light Heavyweight division. In due time he will prove just that.
DAZN Boxing Preview: Bivol vs. Smith Jr., Hooker vs. LesPierre
By: William Holmes
The Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York will be the host site for Saturday’s latest boxing offering by DAZN and will feature two separate title fights. The co-main event will be between Maurice Hooker and Mikkel LesPierre for the WBO Junior Welterweight Title and between Dmitry Bivol and Joe Smith Jr. for Bivol’s WBA Light Heavyweight Title.
The undercard also features some entertaining and competitive bout. Callum Johnson will meet Seanie Monaghan in the light heavyweight division, Sergey Kuzmin will meet Joey Dawejko in the heavyweight division, and Yamaguchi Falcao and Paul Mendez in the middleweight division. Prospects such as Otha Jones III and Junior Younan will also be featured.
Photo Credit: DAZN Boxing USA Twitter Account
The following is a preview of the two title fights on the card.
Maurice Hooker (25-0-3) vs. Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1); WBO Junior Welterweight Title
Maurice Hooker exploded into the boxing scene when he won the WBO Junior Welterweight Title over Terry Flanagan at the Manchester Arena in Manchester.
He has defended the title once since then and looks to defend again against Mikkel LesPierre.
Hooker will have a three inch height advantage over LesPierre. He will also be five years younger than LesPierre, who is thirty four years old.
Both boxers have been relatively active recently. Hooker fought twice in 2018 and in 2017. LesPierre fought three times in 2018 and three times in 2017.
Both boxers had moderate success as an amateur. Hooker was a Dallas Regional Golden Gloves Champion and LesPierre competed as an amateur with moderate success.
Hooker has beaten the likes of Alex Saucedo, Terry Flanagan, Courtney Jackson, Cristobal Cruz, and Ty Barnett. He had draws with Darleys Perez, Abel Ramos, and Tyron Chatman.
LesPierre has beaten nobody of note. His biggest wins to date were against Gustavo David Vittori, Noel Murphy, and Mario Beltre.
This doesn’t appear to be a very competitive fight for Maurice Hooker. Les Pierre turned pro late and has never faced someone on Hooker’s level. Hooker should walk away with the win.
Dmitry Bivol (15-0) vs. Joe Smith Jr. (24-2); WBA Light Heavyweight Title
Dmitry Bivol is considered by many to be the best light heavyweight in the world. The former amateur Russian National Champion will face the heavy handed Joe Smith Jr.
Both boxers are in their prime with Bivol being 28 years old and Smith being 29 years old. Both boxers are also six feet tall. Bivol does have an edge in amateur experience as e was Russian National Champion and Smith was a New York Golden Gloves Champion.
Smith however, had a big edge in power as he had twenty stoppage victories while Bivol has eleven.
However, Bivol appears ready to face the power of Smith. He stated, “I am ready to fight. I hope Joe is ready too. We will make a great fight.”
Bivol has been the more active boxer of the two. Bivol fought three times in 2018 and four times in 2017. Smith only fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and three times in 2016.
Bivol has defeated the likes of Jean Pascal, Isaac Chilemba, Sullivan Barrera, Trent Broadhurst, Cedric Agnew, and Samuel Clarkson.
Smith has defeated the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Andrzej Fonfara, and Will Rosinsky. His losses were to Sullivan Barrera and Eddie Caminero.
Despite the fact Smith has been defeated before, the magnitude of this title fight is not lost on him. He recently stated, “This is what every fighter dreams of, to get a shot at a world title and this is my shot.”
It will be interesting to see how Bivol responds to a power shot from Smith, if he’s able to land one, but Bivol is a very good technical boxer and he should be able to walk away with the decision.
Joe Smith Jr. Plans to “Outwork” Bivol
By: Sean Crose
“Winning a World title would mean everything to me,” light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr says. “It’s everything I have worked towards my whole life. I cannot even express how I will feel when I win this title.” Smith, who will be facing WBA World Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol this Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, is aiming to grasp the holy grail of the professional boxer – a world title belt. “Dmitry is a great fighter,” Smith says of defending champ, Bivol, “very busy and active. My plan is to stay just as active and be busier than him, to outwork him. I plan to punch when he punches and make it a great fight.”
Smith made his mark by knocking out Bernard Hopkins in the great fighter’s final match back in December of 2016. In his next fight, however, Smith was bested by Sullivan Barrera via unanimous decision in July of 2017. Smith came back by knocking out Melvin Russel in June of last year. “The fans are in for a great show on Saturday,” Smith says.“They will see a new and improved Joe Smith Jr., the new Light-Heavyweight champion of the world.” As for Bivol, his last fight was a UD win over popular veteran, and former world champion, Jean Pascal last November in Atlantic City.
The Bivol-Smith battle will be broadcast live on the DAZN streaming service, and will be presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and Matchroom Boxing. “I would like to thank Joe DeGuardia, Star Boxing, DAZN and Matchroom for this opportunity,” says Smith. “I am looking forward to raising that belt, and finally reaching my dream of becoming a World champion.” Although the 24-2 Long Island native is going to have his hands full against the undefeated, 15-0, Bivol, he would insert himself into the heart of the highly competitive light heavyweight division should he once again score a considerable upset.
“Smith Jr’s clash with Bivol is part of a huge night of action at Turning Stone Resort Casino,” Matchroom Boxing states, “with a second mouthwatering World title fight on the bill in the shape of Maurice Hooker (25-0-3 17 KOs) defending his WBO World Super-Lightweight title against Brooklyn’s Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1 10KOs).” Saturday will represent the 29 year old Smith’s first shot at a world title, though he’s fought for, and held the World Boxing Council International Light Heavyweight Title.
Dmitry Bivol On Joe Smith Jr: “This Is A Good Challenge For Me.”
By: Sean Crose
“He’s a strong guy,” WBA World Light-Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (15-0 11 KOs) says of Joe Smith Jr (24-2), his opponent this Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. “I saw his fight against Bernard Hopkins, and he’s really strong. He has the same age like me, he’s young. But he has some minus points like many fighters that I will use to my advantage for my win. He moves forward a lot. This is a good challenge for me, to stop him.” The bout, which is scheduled to go twelve rounds, will be Bivol’s third tittle defense since he won it against Rent Broadhurst back in 2017.
“I saw in his eyes when I met him,” Bivol says of Smtih, “he wanted my belt. And I’m glad, because only that way it can make a good fight…We are both of different styles. When two guys meet in the ring with different styles in boxing, it usually makes a good fight. I think it will be a good fight for boxing fans.” Smith took the fight world by storm back in late 2017 when he literally knocked the great Bernard Hopkins into retirement. Since that time, the Long Island native has been bested by Sullivan Barrera and has notched a knockout victory over Melvin Russell.
Bivol, who has bested the likes of Jean Pascal, Isaac Chilemba, Barrera, and Cedric Agnew, is one of the big names in a red hot light heavyweight division. Yet the Russian prefers to focus on the matter at hand. “To be honest,” he says, “I don’t think about the belt. I just think about who my opponent is, and what he can show me in the ring. All I think about is how I should beat him. In my sight, I feel like I should just beat him. Of course, the belt is good for history, but I only think about my opponent.” Promoter Matchroom Boxing has this to say of the fight:
“Bivol’s clash with Smith Jr. is part of a huge night of action at Turning Stone Resort Casino with a second mouthwatering World title fight on the bill in the shape of Maurice Hooker (25-0-3 17 KOs) defending his WBO World Super-Lightweight title against Brooklyn’s Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1 10KOs).” Light heavyweights Sean Monaghan (29-2-0 17KOs) and Callum Johnson (17-1-0 12KOs) will also face off on the card, which will be aired live,courtesy the DAZN streaming service.
HBO Boxing Results: Bivol Dominates Pascal, Akhmadaliev Stops Zarate
The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey was the host site for tonight’s HBO Boxing card, one of the last ones before HBO closes the door in boxing.
The opening bout of the night was between Isaac Zarate (16-3-3) and Murodjon Akhmadaliev (4-0) in the junior featherweight division.
Akhmadaliev is a high level prospect with a deep amateur background, and was considered a heavy favorite despite only having four professional fights in comparison to the 22 of Zarate.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
Akhmadaliev showed good movement in the opening two rounds and was able to land the heavier and harder power shots. Akhmadaliev was getting a little reckless in the second round and was victim to some uppercuts from Zarate, but still likely won the rounds.
Akhmadaliev landed some heavy body shots in the third round and had a left hook that had Zarate seeing stars, but he managed to survive the round.
Zarate made a better showing in the fifth round, but Akhmadaliev was landing some heavy body shots this round. Akhmadaliev continued to press forward in the sixth round and had Zarate retreating to safety in the corner multiple times.
Zarate appeared to have no power in the seventh round and was badly hurt from a body shot. Akhmadaliev continued to land heavy blows in the eighth round that looked like it would have stopped several fighters from the past.
By the ninth round the main question was could Zarate last all ten rounds? The answer was no, as Akhmadaliev landed a vicious right hand to the chin followed by a combination that forced the referee to jump in and stop the fight.
Akhmadaliev wins by TKO at 1:17 of the ninth round.
The main event of the night was between Dmitry Bivol (14-0) and Jean Pascal (33-5-1) for the WBA Light Heavyweight Championship.
It was clear in the opening moments of the fight that Bivol had the height advantage and was a much more accurate puncher. Bivol’s combinations had Pascal a little hurt at the end of the first round, and kept Pascal off balance in the second round and unable to launch and effective attack.
Bivol continued to land accurate jabs in the third round and looked like he wasn’t missing many punches. Pascal brought some heat in the fourth round, but that was short lived as a slip at the end of the round probably could have been scored a knockdown.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
Bivol had Pascal backing up again in the fifth round and forced Pascal to be short with his punches. Body shots from Bivol in the sixth and seventh rounds appeared to suck the energy out of Pasal.
Pascal had a brief rally in the eighth round when he connected with a straight counter right, but Bivol remained calm and peppered Pascal throughout most of the round.
Pascal came out firing in the ninth round behind a steady stream of jabs, and may have stolen it from Bivol, who didn’t press the pace like he usually does.
Bivol landed a plethora of punches in the opening minute of the tenth round and he looked like he was going for the knockout, but Pascal was able to survive and throw back a flurries of his own. Pascal ended the round strong by pressing the attack, but Bivol still likely won the round.
Pascal needed a knockout in the final two rounds to win the bout, but that never came.
Dmitry Bivol wins the decision with scores of 117-111, 119-109, and 119-109.
Somebody’s 0 Has Got to Go: The Top Three Fights Fans Want to See
By: Oliver McManus
“Somebody’s 0 has got to go”, it’s possibly the most used phrase in modern boxing. Mind you, if David Diamante has his way it will soon become “let’s nix a nil” but the premise remains the same, two unbeaten fighters putting their records on the line in, hopefully, guts-and-glory encounters.
Don’t get me wrong, a loss doesn’t make you a bad fighter and beating an unbeaten man doesn’t, equally, make you a star player in the sport. As we’ve seen recently there have been a fair few damp squibs when it comes to unbeaten vs unbeaten – Andrade vs Kautondokwa, anyone?
Nonetheless there are plenty of mouth-watering fights in prospect and these are three fights I want to see, at world level, where someone’s 0 has got to go…
Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk – Heavyweight
Where better place to kick off than in the heavyweight division? Anthony Joshua has had things pretty much his own way at the top of the game since winning his first world title – sanctioned by the IBF- in 2016. Since that capitulation of Charles Martin, Joshua has fought in six world title bouts and added the WBA, WBO and IBO straps to his collection.
With a touted fight against Deontay Wilder falling by the wayside – take whoever’s side you want on that thorny issue – Joshua is next out on April 13th, at Wembley, with an opponent yet to be scheduled in.
But I’ll be honest, the tag of undisputed aside, I’d much rather see AJ in with the man who holds all of the cruiserweight belts and, arguably, one of the best in the world pound for pound. Usyk seems to me, and many others, the toughest challenge that Joshua can face.
Technically he is sublime and he possesses the heavyweight power required to take Joshua into deep water but, let’s not forget, Usyk has amateur pedigree in the heavier division so it’s not like he’s inexperienced at the weight. Even having said that experience wouldn’t be an issue for someone of such natural quality as Usyk for his fight IQ and ring-ability transcends weight classes.
Coming off the back of a breezy fight against Tony Bellew in which, if we’re honest, he never looked out of control the natural step is for Usyk to go up to heavyweight. Joshua, we know, is searching for “legacy defining” fights and a bout against Oleksandr Usyk is about as big as they come.
The fight seems the most realistic, out of all the big heavyweight contests, with Eddie Hearn taking an active involvement in the promotion of the Ukrainian powerhouse so, fingers crossed, we could see a blockbuster event next year.
Winner of Errol Spence Jnr and Mikey Garcia vs Terence Crawford – Welterweight
Announced last week is the fight that, if we’re honest, made no real sense. Mikey Garcia was the man we all wanted to see fight Vasyl Lomachenko and Errol Spence was the champion looking to unify with Terrence Crawford.
The IBF Welterweight title will be on line come March 16th with Garcia looking to become a five weight champion in his 40th fight. A frighteningly skilled boxer, the California native has continually proved his credentials with a frightening knockout power.
In his last three fights Garcia has been extended the distance but has boxed with class throughout the 36 rounds, controlling the pace of the fight and manouvering his way out of danger with a comprehensive ease.
Errol Spence Jnr goes into the bout with an obvious weight advantage – fighting 12lbs heavier than the division in which Garcia actively holds a world title. 2 years the younger man, Spence burst onto the scene in 2016 with knockout victories over Chris Algieri and Leonard Bundu.
Having captured the IBF crown with a ferocious victory against Kell Brook, in Sheffield, the Texas-man has defended the belt twice in equally terrifying fashion. A non-stop work rate with continual punch output, if you let the champion unfurl his hands then you’re going to be in trouble.
And whilst the question of weight will loom over the bout until fight night, Garcia is a consummate professional and an outstanding athlete. For a man trying to prove his ability in the welterweight division, there could be no better way to silence the critics than claiming a world title in your first fight so that’s where Terence Crawford comes into play.
Errol Spence is the man that people wanted to see in a unification class with Bud, they would produce a scintillating fight. If Mikey Garcia is able to overcome such a challenge then he will have instantaneously justified getting a fight with the WBO champion.
All roads lead to unification, or so they… bring it on!
Artur Beterbiev vs Dmitry Bivol – Light Heavyweight
We’ll deal with the younger boxer first in Dmitry Bivol who ticked over towards the back of 2014 with a Bronze Medal at the 2008 Youth World Championships and a Gold Medal at the 2013 World Combat Games. A two time Russian national champion with a record of 268-15, his amateur pedigree was impressive but paled in comparison to his counterpart.
As a professional, though, the 27 year old really turned up the heat by claiming the first, major, belt of his career in just his fifth fight. The knockout power we all enjoy was evident from the first second of his debut but, with that, he’d find opponents looking to hold and just survive through the early phases. Not that that mattered, Bivol has always found ways of punishing his opponent.
Even when he has been stretched the distance – three times in 14 fights – the Kyrgyzstan-born man has always looked in complete control with an array of power punches as well as technical skill. Of course we’ll all remember his fierce one-punch knockout over, admittedly over-matched, Trent Broadhurst that saw Bivol claimed champion.
Successful defences against Sullivan Barrera and Isaac Chilemba have followed – he next fights Jean Pascal on the 24th – but surely the Russian will be eying up the options for unification come the turn of the year.
Beterbiev, on the other hand, turned pro in the middle of 2013 and initially built up a strong following in Canada – the elite amateur (World Champion & runner up, two-time European champion) had moved to Montreal in order to purse his professional ambitions.
At 5 and 0 he stepped up to face Tavoris Cloud – a former IBF champion – and dealt with the threat of the American, coming off a world title loss, in convincing fashion. The momentum from this bout seemed to follow as Beterbiev looked to fight better opponents at every opportunity possible.
A refreshing attitude of “fight who’s in front of me and knock them out” has ensured success with all thirteen of his wins coming via an early stoppage. A grizzly fighter, that’s the best way to describe it, Beterbiev never looks the fastest of opponents but, boy, does he have vicious punch power.
Typically standing with his hands at shoulder level, the 33 year old stands ready to pounce and is mature enough not to go out all-guns-blazing. The IBF champion won his title against Enrico Koelling last November and, in a fight that ended in the 12th, boxed patiently and calmly to do so.
Two unbeaten Russian powerhouses, slugging it out to unify light heavyweight world titles… what more could you ask for?
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Prograis, Bivol, Pascal, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 9th to October 16th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Canelo Alvarez Receives WBC Middleweight Title in Mexico City
Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) received his WBC Middleweight World Title today at Museo Soumaya in Mexico City in recognition of his spectacular victory against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in September. Canelo also received the Cinturon Chiapaneco and the Cinturon Huichol at this momentous event as he prepares to return to the ring. The 28-year-old WBC, WBA, Lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion will take on WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) in a special 12-round super middleweight attraction on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden.
Below is what today’s participants had to say at the belt presentation:
CANELO ALVAREZ, WBC, WBA, Lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion:
“I want to thank everyone for their support during the good times and the bad. It was a tough year for me. I would never do anything to blemish my career, but I’m grateful to all those who were there with me. I’m going to represent the WBC from here on. They’ve been my family since the beginning. It’s a great responsibility to be a Mexican world champion. But I take that responsibility because I know I’m a determined and disciplined fighter. I honor every fighter who has fought at Madison Square Garden, but I’m going to make my own story. This is another chapter in my legacy.
JOSE “CHEPO” REYNOSO, Manager and Trainer of Canelo Alvarez:
“The past 13 years of Canelo Alvarez’s career has not been easy. It has been difficult. But when you have a lot of determination like he does, it makes the hard road that much easier. We completed the promise of making him a world champion because he completed his part of working hard. I thank everyone here and the sport of boxing.”
EDDY REYNOSO, Head Trainer and Manager of Canelo Alvarez:
“I’m grateful and thankful for all that Canelo Alvarez has achieved. I thank Mauricio Sulaiman and the WBC for their help. They’ve supported us all along the way. We’re proud of what he has accomplished, and we know there is more to come.”
ERIC GOMEZ, President of Golden Boy Promotions:
“We’ve worked with Canelo Alvarez since he was a very young prospect. He was hungry and determined to be great. To see him achieve that greatness is a wonderful thing to see. I congratulate him on this exciting day for him.”
MAURICIO SULAIMAN, President of the WBC:
“Canelo shut a lot of mouths in his last fight. He quieted a lot of critics who said he did not come forward. But in his last fight he showed with his fists and his aggression that he is the better fighter. Canelo is always first to raise the Mexican flag after a victory and yell Viva Mexico! I am so proud he is representing the WBC once again.”
Canelo vs. Fielding is a 12-round fight for the WBA Super Middleweight World Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Matchroom Boxing. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” and Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle.” The event will take place Saturday, December 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
Prograis Makes Brief Stop Home Before Upcoming Fight
Since the Crescent City last saw native son Regis “Rougarou” Prograis in the ring in July, it’s been a whirlwind for the rising star of boxing’s super lightweight division.
Prograis has been to Russia, Brazil and then in training for nearly six weeks in both Los Angeles and Houston as he counts down to an Oct. 27 matchup with Englishman Terry Flanagan at UNO Lakefront Arena.
“I started training camp two weeks earlier,” Prograis said Wednesday in a visit with local media. “I had to go to Russia on Tuesday (after his last fight). When I came back, I went back to Houston and bought a house. I barely stayed in my house for a couple of days, then I went to Brazil for a month … I was training MMA and jiu jitsu. I was back in Houston for a week, then off to (Los Angeles) for training camp.”
The longer camp allowed Prograis and trainer Bobby Benton to change the focus initially.
“As we start camp, we usually start with strength and conditioning,” Benton said. “Instead, we worked his feet. His feet are so much better, his balance is better. It’s made a difference.”
Prograis was wearing a reminder of how difficult training for the fight has been, showing a mark below his left eye as a result of a “little pop” in training Tuesday.
“My training camps are really, really hard,” Prograis said. “My body is sore.”
It’s the second consecutive fight at Lakefront Arena for Prograis, who dispatched Juan Jose Velasco in an eighth-round TKO in the headline event of New Orleans’ first championship fight card in nearly two decades.
“My whole goal is to turn it into a franchise,” Prograis said. “We got the Saints, the Pelicans, and hopefully now we’ll have Regis Prograis.”
A win against Flanagan could mean a return to New Orleans for his next bout.
Prograis, who is 22-0 in his career with 19 knockouts, is not only the No. 1 seed in the super lightweight bracket for the Ali Trophy, but ranked No. 1 in the 140-pound division by ESPN. As the top seed, he had a choice of opponents and picked Flanagan (33-1, 13 KOs).
“I’m in it to fight the best people,” Prograis said. “Terry Flanagan is tough, he’s scrappy, he’s going to come to right and he has a lot of experience. I wanted to fight the hardest fight first.”
If his first fight in his hometown taught Prograis anything, it was to watch what he eats right before the fight. What will he do differently this time? “Don’t eat po-boys and gumbo before I fight,” he said. “Otherwise, everything went smoothly. I experienced (nervousness) already, so that’s done. This time, it’s going to be back being fun to me again.”
If Prograis can win the Ali Trophy – the final would likely happen around June 2019 – he has in his sight a matchup with fellow unbeaten Jose Ramirez (23-0). Prograis attended Ramirez’s fight last month in Fresno, California.
Prograis and his team were headed back to Houston late Wednesday to resume training before returning to New Orleans in the days leading up to the fight.
The Prograis-Flanagan co-headliner is another Ali Trophy super-lightweight quarterfinal between Ivan Baranchyk and Anthony Yigit for the IBF world championship.
The undercard is expected to begin at 6 p.m., with the two main events at about 9. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and the Lakefront Arena box office.
Dmitry Bivol to Defend WBA Title Against Jean Pascal in Atlantic City
Dmitry Bivol will defend his WBA Light Heavyweight World Title against former Olympian and former WBC, IBO, and Ring Magazine champion Jean Pascal on Saturday, November 24, 2018 as boxing returns to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
The event will be promoted by Main Events and World of Boxing, Bivol’s promoter, in association with Jean Pascal Promotions. The bout will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Bivol, age 27, of St. Petersburg Russia, risks his perfect record of 14 wins with no losses and 11 knockouts against the time-tested Pascal, who turns 36 on October 28, has 33 wins, 20 by knockout, against five losses and a draw.
Bivol is coming off a dominating 12-round decision victory over crafty Isaac Chilemba of Malawi on August 4. Pascal is fresh from an eighth round TKO over former UFC champion Steve Bosse at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec on July 20.
After storming through the amateur ranks, Bivol has quickly moved himself into position to take over the highly competitive light heavyweight division by facing top names and defeating them, one after the other. Bivol is open about his ambitious goals to fight all of the best opponents in the division, and to deliver entertaining fights in front of large audiences.
Bivol’s ultimate goal to unify the light heavyweight division: “It’s very important for me. It’s every boxer’s dream to be the champion, the unified champion. It’s a big step to dream about. Like (unified cruiserweight champion) Oleksandr Usyk.”
Although he has a humble nature, Bivol is sure about his abilities. “Not too long ago, Pascal fought for three world titles and I watched on TV. Now he wants to take my title away, and I am very happy to accept this challenge and look forward to my next title defense on HBO.”
Vadim Kornilov, Bivol’s manager, added, “We are looking forward to another great performance by Dmitry Bivol on November 24th. Jean Pascal is a name everyone has heard, and we look forward to a competitive fight with this great champion.”
Andrei Ryabinski of World of Boxing, Bivol’s promoter, said, “We are glad to be putting together another fight for Dmitry Bivol together with HBO, Main Events and the Hard Rock. Look forward to a great fight between Dmitry Bivol and Jean Pascal!”
“This is the most important fight of my life and I could not be more motivated,” said Pascal. “I’m making boxing history on November 24th. I’m known as a champion who never turned down any challenges, but I want to be two-time champion and I want to be immortalized in the Hall of Fame when my career is over. To fully cement my status as a hall of famer, I must win this fight and I will win this fight.
“Bivol is a very good fighter and a difficult challenge, but greatness has never been achieved without overcoming difficult challenges. My Canadian fans should be very excited because all of the light heavyweight belts will be in our house for Christmas this year,” promised Pascal.
Manager Greg Leon is equally confident. “In my opinion Bivol is the best light heavyweight champion in the world, so this is an extremely difficult challenge for us. However, Jean is fighting for the hall of fame, history and legacy. That coupled with the intangibles he possesses that cannot be taught make him the most dangerous fighter Bivol has ever faced by far.
“November 24th will provide Bivol with a couple of new experiences; he’ll be fighting in his first major main event and he’ll be suffering his first loss as a professional,” said Leon.
Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said, “Main Events could not be more excited to return to Atlantic City for our second card at the Hard Rock’s Etess Arena. Our first card there on August 4 was a sellout, and we expect to build on that momentum by bringing Dmitry back to be in the main event on November 24.”
“Following up on the success of last August’s fight between Alvarez and Kovalev, this will just be another step forward in Atlantic City’s return to professional boxing,” says Bernie Dillon, Vice President of Entertainment for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, “I’m thrilled that Hard Rock can be a big part of that.”
Ruben Villa Shines on Front of Hometown Fans on Saturday Night
Featherweight Ruben Villa (14-0, 5 KOs) returned to his hometown for the second time in his career and delivered a thrilling, one-sided performance against the game Miguel Carrizoza (10-4, 2 KOs) Saturday night from a sold-out Storm House in Salinas, Calif.
Villa, 21, used terrific footwork to find the angles against Carrizoza in route to a sweep of the scorecards in the 8-round main event. Throughout the fight, Villa hammered Carrizoza with a stiff jab, followed by a thundering left hand. It was an outstanding display of accuracy for the southpaw in his fifth fight of the year.
“I felt great tonight,” said Villa, who is promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing. “Everything was clicking. The guy was tough. I landed a lot of good shots and he came coming back. I’m very happy with my performance. I put on a great show for my hometown fans.”
To watch a replay of Villa’s dominant performance, please click here
Villa, who has been as active as possible since joining the professional ranks in 2016, looked as comfortable as he ever has.
“I’m gaining more and more confidence with each win,” Villa said. “I like where I’m at right now.”
HBO Boxing Preview: Bivol vs. Chilemba, Kovalev vs. Alvarez
By: William Holmes
Atlantic City has seen a surge in the past year in the number of boxing events held in the local casinos, and with Sports Betting now legal in New Jersey, it appears that the surge will continue.
On Saturday night Main Events Promotions will promote a solid fight card at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Two light heavyweight world title bouts will be featured on that card, the main event of Sergey Kovalev vs. Sleider Alvarez and the co-main event between Dmitry Bivol and Isaac Chilemba for Bivol’s title.
The undercard will feature several prospects and local fighters, including Karl Dargan, Vaughn Alexander, Denis Douglin, Frank Galarza, and Bakhram Murtazaliev.
The following is a preview of the two televised fights.
Dmitry Bivol (13-0) vs. Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2); WBA Light Heavyweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be a light heavyweight title fight between Dmitry Bivol and Isaac Chilemba.
Bivol is a Russian boxer with a deep amateur background. He was Russian National Gold Medalist as well as a World Cadet Championship gold medalist. Chilemba does not have the amateur credentials of Bivol.
Chilemba will have a slight one inch height advantage over Bivol. However, Bivol is the harder puncher of the two. Chilemba only has ten stoppage victories on his resume while Bivol has stopped elevent of his opponents, only two went the distance.
Inactivity should be of some concern to Chilemba. He only fought once in 2018, zero times in 2017, and twice in 2016. Chilemba has also gone 1-3 in his past four fights.
Bivol has been more active than Chilemba. He fought once in 2018 and four times in 2017. By his eleventh professional fight Bivol was already a world champion.
Chilemba has some big losses on his resume. He has losses to Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Sergey Kovalev, Eleider Alvarez, and Tony Bellew. His notable wins include Blake Caparello, Vasily Lepikhin, Denis Grachev, and Edison Miranda.
Bivol has been fairly dominant in his career. He has beaten the likes of Sullivan Barrera, Trent Broadhurst, Cedric Agnew, and Samuel Clarkson.
Bivol appears to be following Sergey Kovalev’s career path and has beaten some opponents that previously faced Kovalev. Chilemba will likely be no different.
Sergey Kovalev (32-2-1) vs. Eleider Alvarez (23-0); WBO Light Heavyweight Title
Sergey Kovalev was long considered one of the top boxers in the light heavyweight division, but back to back losses to Andre Ward has faded his shine a little bit. But he’s still a very dangerous boxer and one of the top guys in the light heavyweight division.
However, he’s facing one of the biggest tests of his professional career in Eleider Alvarez.
Both Kovalev and Alvarez has extensive amateur backgrounds. Kovalev is a former Gold Medalist in the Russian National Championships and Alvarez represented Columbia in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Both boxers are slightly past their athletic primes. Kovalev is 35 years old and Alvarez is 34 years old. Kovalev will have a two inch height advantage and about a three inch reach advantage on Alvarez.
Both boxers have been fairly active in recent years. Kovalev fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017. Alvarez fought twice in 2017 and 2016 but has yet to fight in 2018.
Kovalev’s only losses were to Andre Ward, an all time great. He has defeated the likes of Igor Mikhalkin, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Nadjib Mohammedi, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Nathan Cleverly, and Gabriel Campillo
Alvarez has defeated the likes of Jean Pascal, Lucian Bute, Isaac Chilemba, Robert Berridge, and Alexander Johnson.
This writer feels this bout will be very close and competitive. Alvarez has been on a hot streak recently with some impressive wins, but has never fought someone on the level of Kovalev.
If Kovalev can use his reach and height advantage well he should win this bout, but an upset wouldn’t be surprising.
Kovalev and Bivol to Defend Separate Belts on HBO card Saturday Night
By Eric Lunger
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) returns Saturday night to the Madison Square Garden Theatre against fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) in a twelve-round light heavyweight WBO world championship bout. Kovalev is coming off a second-round TKO of Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in November of last year, Ifalso If also MSG, where he won the WBO belt that had been vacated by Kovalev’s nemesis, the now-retired Andre Ward.
Photo Credit: Main Events Twitter Account
Kovalev looks to reclaim his light heavyweight titles, which he lost to Ward in November of 2016. Ward nipped a close 12 round decision, winning by one round on all three judges’ cards. In the rematch, Kovalev was stopped in a controversial fashion, having taken what some saw as a series of low blows. Kovalev emerged onto the world-wide boxing scene in 2013 when he stopped England’s Nathan Cleverly in the fourth round, picking up the WBO belt for the first time. He then reeled off three stoppage wins and then a 12-round decision over Bernard Hopkins in November of 2014. Having now claimed the IBF and WBA belts, “Krusher” made four successful defenses until running into Ward. Still ranked number one by Ring Magazine, Kovalev, now at age 34, looks to continue his journey back to the undisputed top of the division on Saturday night.
After the two losses to Ward, Kovalev switch trainers to Abror Tursunpulatov, submitting to a much higher level of direction: “I don’t think about what I should do, what I need to do, how many minutes or rounds,” Kovalev told Main Events, “everything is under his plan and his control. I like it, and right now I don’t spend my energy to think about training camp. Everything is under the control of Abror.” And like the veteran he is, Kovalev understands the challenge of fighting a contender like Mikhalkin: “he is very motivated. He comes here [to a Championship bout], and he is very dangerous because it is a great opportunity for his future boxing career … and I should be ready for everything he can bring against me.”
Igor Mikhalkin will be making his first appearance fighting in the US. At age 32, the 6-foot-one southpaw holds the IBO World light heavyweight belt, having outpointed Doudou Ngumbu of France in twelve-round clash in December of last year. With only one KO in his last eight outings, Mikhalkin will have to outbox Kovalev. A slugfest would favor the man they call the “Krusher.” Mikhalkin’s most notable win was over then-undefeated Thomas Oosthuizen (27-0-2) in May of 2017 in Hamburg, Germany, Mikhalkin’s adopted home town.
Mikhalkin knows a bit about Kovalev, however, as they were teammates in their amateur days two decades ago. Mikhalkin says, “What I remember of Sergey from those day, he was always working and training really hard, and doing his job as a boxer. Since then, I’ve seen every one of his fights and I respect him for what he has done.” The Irkutsk-born Mikhalkin knows what an enormous opportunity this is: “I’m not as well known, but I get to fight a very popular opponent, a very dangerous opponent with lots of fans. It would change everything in my life.”
The co-Main event features a fascinating clash between two other world-level light heavyweights, albeit from very different boxing traditions: WBA Champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) of Kyrgyzstan versus Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) of Miami, FL, by way of Cuba. Bivol, 27, is riding a four-fight knock out streak. He won the WBA belt by defeating Trent Broadhurst (20-2, 12 KOs) of Australia via a first-round knockout. Bivol made a splash last June on the Ward vs. Kovalev II undercard, where he punished a tough Cedric Agnew, stopping the Chicago fighter in the fourth.
Bivol is thankful to be fighting at MSG on the same card as the vaunted Kovalev: “it’s a pleasure to fight on a card where there’s going to be two world champions from Russia, fighting on the same night… I think the fans should be very glad, the Russian fans and all the fans who like both of us, will come and see both of us fight.” The Kyrgyzstan native realizes that Barrera is a real step up in opposition, but he is excited to step in the ring with the Cuban: “I want to fight with the best guys. Barrera accepted our challenge. I’m glad he did.”
Sullivan Barrera, like other former Cuban amateur standouts, started his professional career somewhat late. But he has been busy over the last two years. After losing to Andre Ward in March of 2016 by twelve-round unanimous decision, Barrera reeled off four victories. He earned stoppage wins over Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (2016) and prospect Paul Parker (2017). Barrera then finished a three-fight 2017 with decision wins over Joe Smith, Jr., in July, and Felix Valera in November, the latter on the Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy undercard. Saturday night is Barrera’s first title shot, and the Cuban knows that Bivol will be a difficult opponent: “Bivol is a good fighter and it is known that he has speed but we have a plan to adjust to the speed and take it away. We are going to impose ourselves and use our abilities. It would be a dream come true to win the title.”
The action will be broadcast live this Saturday night at 10:00 PM ET/PT on H
HBO Boxing After Dark Results: Dmitry Bivol Stops Broadhurst in One
By: Ken Hissner
WBA World light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, 13-0 (11), of Russia, successfully defended his WBA title stopping IBF No. 6 & WBO No. 10 Trent Broadhurst, 20-2 (12), of Australia, at 2:55 of the first round at the Casino de Monte Salle, Medicin, Monte Carlo. HBO After Dark and Sky Television covered the event.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
No. 1 contender Sullivan Barrera will be mandatory challenger for Bivol within 90 days.
In the first round Bivol is the aggressor and Broadhurst countering mostly with his jab and an occasional right. Bivol used his shoulder knocking Broadhurst down but the referee called it a knockdown.
Broadhurst countered with a left hook to the chin of Bivol who fired a right hand in return. Broadhurst missed a pair of right hands while Bivol led with a right to the chin and down went Broadhurst just prior to the bell. Only mark was a little blood from the nose of Broadhurst. The referee immediately waived it off.