WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol successfully defended his world title tonight on DAZN, dominating Joe Smith Jr. over 12 rounds of action. Three official judges turned in scores of 118-110, and two scores of 119-109 in favor of Bivol. BLH scored the fight 119-109 for Bivol as well.
It was clear from the opening rounds of this fight that Bivol was just too technically polished for a rugged slugger like Smith. Bivol would use his educated jab to pick off Smith as he was coming forward, and then used feints to turn those jabs into left hooks which also landed well for him throughout the fight. And when Bivol needed to be defensive, he used swift footwork to move around Smith’s attack, leaving him punching at air much of the time.
By the middle-to-late rounds Smith was clearly frustrated with his inability to mount any offense. In the ninth round Smith would literally pick Bivol up during a clinch and slam him to the canvas. The referee would give Smith a hard warning for the wrestling move but Bivol never looked to retaliate — he just got right back to business.
In the next round Bivol would be back in control, using his sophisticated boxing technique to befuddle Smith, but he lost concentration for just a moment at the bell and Smith would land a hard right hand that hurt Bivol. Because the bell rang Smith was unable to follow up on the shot, but Bivol was visibly stunned and stumbled back to his corner.
In the 11th Smith tried to jump right back on Bivol to see if he could land another significant punch, but Bivol was sufficiently recovered to prevent from taking another vicious shot. Bivol then fought a little cautiously to the final bell but managed to mount one final blitz on Smith in the waning moments of the fight.
As evidence of Bivol’s dominance in this fight, final CompuBox stats had Bivol landing 208 of 714 total punches (29.1%) while Smith landed an ugly 39 of 395 total punches (9.9%). And with the win Bivol (16-0, 11 KOs) moves on with his undefeated campaign while Smith (24-3, 20 KOs) should probably steer clear of classy technicians.