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.
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.
Dmitry Kudryashov To Make MMA Debut
By: Blaine Henry
Dmitry Kudryashov (23-3, 3 KOs) is set to make a move over to MMA. The Russian Hammer will fight on Fight Nights Global on October 12th in Moscow, Russia.
Kudryashov was a former WBA International and WBC silver cruiserweight champion. With tremendous power in his fists, Dmitry Kudryashov will headline the card according to Fight Nights Global president, Kamil Gadzhiev.
“It would be correct to say that October night in Moscow will be headlined by Dmitry Kudryashov. About a year ago we happened to talk with him about a possible MMA fight. I have cherished the idea for a long time. I think it’s finally time that this idea can be implemented,” says Gadzhiev.
Dmitry Kudryashov competed in the World Boxing Super Series and lost to Yunier Dorticos in the first leg of the tournament. Dorticos is now in the cruiserweight finals. Kudryashov went on to win his next two bouts after losing his last fight to Ilunga Makabu in June.
An opponent for Kudryashov has not yet been selected. It is unclear if Dmitry Kudryashov intends to stay competing in mixed martial arts or if there a return to boxing any time soon.
Fight Nights Global is one of the biggest mixed martial arts promotions in the world. Based out of Russia, the promotion has some of the best talent outside the UFC. Some of the most popular talent coming out of Fight Nights Global is Diego Brandão, Fedor Emelianenko, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Nikita Krylov, Antonio Silva, and Tim Sylvia.
Being a cruiserweight, Dmitry Kudryashov will likely fight at 93kg (205 pounds). I MMA, that is considered the light heavyweight division. Kudryashov, having plenty of combat sports experience, will likely use that experience to cross over, training for a completely different sport. While some of his skills, like punching speed and power, will transfer over, he will need to learn a new set is skills to compete at the highest level in mixed martial arts.
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.
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.
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?
HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Bivol vs. Broadhurst, McDonnell vs. Solis
By: Thomas Nicholls
Light-Heavyweight star Dmitry Bivol and the rematch between Jamie McDonnell and Liborio Solis for the WBA World Bantamweight title top the Monte-Carlo Boxing Bonanza – a night of World Championship Boxing in the prestigious Salle Médecin of the Casino de Monte-Carlo on this Saturday live on HBO.
Bivol can showcase his fearsome power when he defends his WBA light-heavyweight belt against Australian Trent Broadhurst after Badou Jack vacated the belt instead of a mandatory title defence against the big-hitting Russian.
Bivol is an exciting 26-year old who will be looking to add another KO to his impressive record. The Russian’s reputation continues to grow and he picked up the crown in just his seventh pro fight. He has already wowed crowds in his homeland and the US and now Bivol will be out to impress in his first fight in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Jamie McDonnell, back from injury, will be aiming to defend his WBA title for the sixth time in a rematch with Liborio Solis, with Dereck Chisora and Scott Quigg also featuring in must-win bouts.
The Doncaster man retained his WBA bantamweight title with a closely-fought points win over Solis last November and they meet again at the Salle Médecin of the Casino de Monte Carlo on November 4.
Controversial Heavyweight star Dereck Chisora is aiming to become a two-time European champion when he challenges Agit Kabayel for the belt. Chisora landed the title in September 2013 after stopping Edmund Gerber and surrendered it to Tyson Fury, also challenging Kubrat Pulev for the strap in May 2016, and ‘Del Boy’ is looking to take the crown from Kabayel who defends for the first time after winning the strap in February.
Quigg will resume his pursuit of the featherweight world championship as he battles Ukrainian Oleg Yefimovych in a WBA title eliminator, with the Bury man targeting his second win under new trainer Freddie Roach.
“We are delighted to be back in Monaco for an incredible evening of world championship boxing live on Sky Sports in the UK and HBO across America,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.
“I’m excited to watch Dmitry Bivol, one of the most exciting young fighters in world boxing, and of course to see the world title rematch of Jamie McDonnell versus Liborio Solis after their last close encounter.”
The World Boxing Super Series Begins
The World Boxing Super Series Begins
By: Matthew N. Becher
Over the past weekend, the newly created World Boxing Super Series held its very first draft, for its very first tournament. The premise of the new tournament is an open competition for any professional boxer that is ranked in the top 15 of the major sanctioning bodies systems.
In theory the best fighters would face off against one another, until the last man was standing, thus making him the #1 boxer in that weight class. Simple. That is the easy part, the hard part is getting the best fighters to all participate in such a tournament, with everyone having different promoters and so forth. Fortunately, it seems to have worked out for the initial Cruiserweight Tournament.
The seeding of the tournament went as follows. The top 4 fighters were ranked 1-4 by the WBSS, with the four belt holders getting the top rankings.
1: Oleksander Usyk (WBO)
2: Murat Gassiev (IBF)
3: Mairis Briedis (WBC)
4: Yunier Dorticos (WBA)
Then from 1-4, the fighter was allowed to pick or draft his opponent from a group of 4 boxers, for their first round fight. (An exception was made for Gassiev, who had a mandatory against Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. That fight was picked for him)
The first round of the tournament looks like this.
Oleksander Usyk (12-0 10KO) v. Marco Huck (40-4-1 27KO)
Murat Gassiev (24-0 17KO) v. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1 37KO)
Mairis Briedis (22-0 18KO) v. Mike Perez (22-2-1 14KO)
Yunier Dorticos (21-0 20KO) v. Dmitry Kudryashov (21-1 21KO)
Literally the best of the best in the Cruiserweight division will be competing against each other, until one is standing with all the belts, the inaugural Muhammad Ali Trophy and possibly a $1 million dollar bonus for advancing though semifinals and the championship round.
The tournament is slated to begin in early September and rap up by Mary of next year. The location of the fights have yet to be determined and will be placed in locations that match up well for each fight.
“To unify a division and spotlight a division that has clearly been underappreciated, even though the fights in the ring are always among the most exciting in the sport, irrespective of the division, that those four champions, if you look at the record – they are all undefeated. Most of their wins, the vast majority have come by knockout. So these are all big punchers, undefeated. I’m really excited,” said Richard Schaefer, the Chairman of the Americas for Comosa, who helped put this field together alongside fellow promoter Kalle Sauerland (the Chief Boxing Officer for Comosa).
This is a very exciting tournament for boxing and especially for the roll out of the new World Boxing Super Series. With formats like this, expect many division to start falling in line and possibly getting to see the best match up against the best in the near future.
HBO PPV Preview: Rigondeaux vs. Flores, Bivol vs. Agnew, Ward vs. Kovalev
HBO PPV Preview: Rigondeaux vs. Flores, Bivol vs. Agnew, Ward vs. Kovalev
By: William Holmes
HBO Sports will present four fights on Pay Per View on Saturday night which will feature a main event rematch between the two top boxers in the light heavyweight division, Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.
Their first bout was a close and entertaining affair that saw Ward scratch out a decision victory after being knocked down early in the bout. Ward and Kovalev genuinely dislike each other and this bout should be as entertaining as the first one.
Main Events and Roc Nation will be co-promoting this event which will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The following is a preview of three of the planned televised bouts.
Dmitry Bivol (10-0) vs. Cedric Agnew (29-2); Light Heavyweights
Prospect Dmitry Bivol is a two time Russian National Gold Medalist as an amateur at two different weights and has never tasted defeated. He lives in Russia but was born in Kyrgyzstan and has never tasted defeated.
Bivol will be four years younger than Agnew, who just turned thirty. They are both six feet tall. Agnew was a runner up in the National Golden Gloves as an amateur.
Both boxers have decent power, but Bivol appears to be the harder puncher. He has eight stoppage wins in only ten fights, while Agnew has fifteen stoppage wins and one stoppage loss.
Bivol has been very active and already fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Samuel Clarkson, Robert Berridge, and Felix Valera. Bivol has never faced someone with a losing record, which is rare for prospects as they are usually brought up slowly.
Agnew’s biggest wins have come against boxers past their primes. He has defeated the likes of Yusaf Mack, Otis Griffin, and Daniel Judah. His two losses were to Sergey Kovalev and a man that Bivol has defeated, Samuel Clarkson.
Agnew is a decent boxer with a good looking record, but he’s been fairly inactive since his loss to Kovalev. He only fought once in 2017 and did not fight at all in 2016. This is a bout that Bivol should win quite easily.
Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0) vs. Moises Flores (25-0); WBA Junior Featherweight Title
Guillermo Rigondeaux is one of boxing’s best talents and unfortunately, one of boxing’s most avoided fighters.
He’s a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and a two time Gold Medalist in the world amateur championships. He’s slick, quick, and has some incredible defense on top of pin point accuracy. But, his style is considered boring by the average fan and he struggles to bring in a large fan base.
He’s facing his mandatory challenger for his WBA Junior Featherweight title, but it doesn’t appear Flores will be a real challenge to him.
Flores does have an edge in the physicals. He’s six years younger than Rigondeaux and will have a five inch height advantage and about a one inch reach advantage. He’s also been more active than Rigondeaux, but not by much. Flores fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015. Rigondeaux fought once in 2016 and once in 2015.
Flores also doesn’t have the amateur pedigree of Rigondeaux and hasn’t faced good opposition.
Rigondeaux has defeated the likes of James Dickens, Drian Francisco, Joseph Agbeko, Nonito Doniare, Roberto Marroquin, Teon Kennedy, and Rico Ramos. He has eleven stoppage wins on his record but has been unable to entice any of the other world champions to face him in the ring.
Flores has spent most of his career fighting in Mexico against sub-par opposition. He has seventeen stoppage victories, but only two of his past five fights resulted in a TKO or KO victory. His notable wins have come against Oscar Escandon and Mario Macias.
Rigondeaux needs an entertaining victory badly if he wants to stay relevant and land a date on HBO or Showtime. Hopefully he takes some risks to go for the stoppage on Saturday, but there’s little to no doubt that will emerge victorious.
Andre Ward (31-0) vs. Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1); WBO, WBA, and IBF Light Heavyweight Titles
Their first bout was close, very close, and many boxing aficionados thought Kovalev did enough to win the decision. However, the judges disagreed and scored the bout 114-113 on all three cards for Andre Ward.
Luckily for fight fans they get to witness a rare rematch between two of a division’s best on Saturday night, between two boxers who genuinely dislike each other.
Both boxers are nearing the end of their prime. Ward is thirty three years old and Kovalev is thirty four. They are both six feet tall and Kovalev will have a slight one and a half reach advantage on Ward.
Ward is known for his slick, defensive boxing and his accurate counter punching. Kovalev is known for his devastating power. Ward only has fourteen stoppages in his career while Kovalev has twenty six of his opponents.
However, Kovalev’s last two opponents made it all twelve rounds and he was not able to stop the aged Bernard Hopkins. Kovalev’s power appears to be waning.
Ward had a considerable amount of success as an amateur and was able to win the Gold Medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Kovalev won a gold medal in the Russian Amateur Championships, but did not experience the type of success Ward experienced as an amateur.
Ward has defeated the likes of Alexander Brand, Sullivan Barrera, Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Mikkel Kessler, Edison Miranda, and of course Sergey Kovalev.
Kovalev has defeated the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Ismayl Sillah, Nathan Cleverly, and Gabriel Campillo.
Ward is a slick, intelligent boxer who’s able to adjust his style mid match to defeat his opponent. Kovalev’s power caught him off guard in their first fight, but he was able to adjust and win a majority of the rounds in the second half of the fight. Kovalev’s power appears to be escaping him and he looked frustrated in the later rounds against Ward.
Even though their first bout was very close, a rematch favors Ward and this writer expects him to win by a more comfortable margin.
Dmitry Bivol Interview: “If I see the opportunity to end the fight I will go for it”
Dmitry Bivol Interview: “If I see the opportunity to end the fight I will go for it”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Dmitry Bivol is a highly touted young prospect from St. Petersburg, Russia. He sports an undefeated record of 10 wins with 8 coming by way of the knockout. Bivol is only 26 years old, and is already the WBA #1 contender in the light heavyweight division. On June 17th he will fight on the HBO pay per view undercard against his toughest challenger yet, the crafty veteran Cedric Agnew. We spoke with Dmitry as he was putting the last touches on his training camp.
Boxing Insider: How is training camp going?
Dmitry Bivol: The training camp has gone very well. Tomorrow we will have the final sparring and today we had a good run. Yeah, everything is good and we are just waiting for the fight.
Boxing Insider: What is your game plan for a veteran like Agnew?
Dmitry Bivol: I think I don’t have to waste too much energy in the beginning, because he tends to be very defensive. I think I should keep the distance and I should find the openings in his defense to react to. I think those are the three things I should focus on.
Boxing Insider: Is it more important for you to make this fight last longer and get some rounds under your belt, or to look for a quick stoppage?
Dmitry Bivol: I think the knockout is always a good result, but I am ready to go the distance, to go all the rounds, I am prepared for that. To be honest, if I see the opportunity to end the fight I will go for it. But we will have to see during the fight. I am ready to go all the rounds, but I am also ready to end the fight.
Boxing Insider: What are your goals for the rest of 2017?
Dmitry Bivol: I don’t like to look too much ahead, I tend to focus on what is right in front of me. I’m just looking at this fight that is happening on June 17th. As far as plans go, we’ll see after this fight, the only thing I can say is I will look to fight once or maybe twice more by the end of the year.
Boxing Insider: How are you feeling fighting on such a big pay per view event in such a big venue?
Dmitry Bivol: I’m very happy to be fighting on this card, it is very big. I am happy to be fighting on the network and in that arena. I’m very motivated and it is a great achievement of my team, because it’s my 11th fight and it’s such a big magnitude, such a big event, so I’m happy.
Boxing Insider: Since you are fighting on the Ward v. Kovalev card, who do you think is going to win?
Dmitry Bivol: It is a very tough questions. I am sure I will be rooting for Kovalev. We know each other and have mutual friends and he is Russian, so I will be rooting for him. But I do have to say that I think this time the fight will play out a lot different, and Kovalev will have a lot more challenges. It will be a very interesting fight.