Bivol Brings It

By William Trillo

With his victory on Saturday night Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11 KO’s) retained his WBA Light Heavyweight Title and now should finally get some well deserved respect and recognition. The young Russian with a thoroughbred pedigree proved his worth against the strong challenger Joe Smith Jr.(24-3, 20 KO’s). Bivol was dominant and almost dropped Smith in the final round. But let’s not forget that earlier in the fight Bivol was put to the test as a Smith Jr. bomb stunned and wobbled the young Champion. Proving he has what it takes, Bivol weathered the storm and went on to impress with his unanimous decision victory.

Truth be told, the jury was out on Bivol. Although no one would deny he was a natural talent there were more than a few who wondered aloud if Bivol could make it on the big stage. With a bevy of other Russian talent out there, Beterbiev, Kovalev and Gvodzyk, it appeared Bivol was going to have to take a back seat.

Not helping Bivol’s cause was his previous two performances. He won both fights by decision but his opponents, Jean Pascal and Isaac Chilemba, have a way of making a fighter look questionable even in victory.

But on Saturday night Bivol took on a big tough charge in Smith Jr. and the result was impressive. With the exception of that one moment when Smith buckled Bivol it was a fine performance for the young undefeated champion.

Looking ahead, with his new allegiance with DAZN and the prospect of some big name fights, Bivol appears to be on his way to becoming a true star. If he moves down to 168 pounds as speculated, I will go on record and say he will most likely clean out the division.

Boxing in 2019 is headed in a new direction. There is a real anticipation the sport is going to climb off the canvas and have a stellar resurgence. One of the fighters leading the way will be Dmitry Bivol. You can count on that.

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