Dmitry Bivol put in a very “Dmitry Bivol” sort of performance today, retaining his WBA light heavyweight title with a wide unanimous decision win over Umar Salamov in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
Bivol improved to 19-0 (11 KO) on scores of 118-110, 118-109, and 119-109, with Bad Left Hook also scoring the fight 119-109 for Bivol, who never let Salamov (26-2, 19 KO) into the fight or gave him much of a chance at sustained success.
Salamov was trying throughout, but Bivol was simply too sharp, too skilled, and too fundamentally sound for Salamov to take any advantage of pretty significant height and reach advantages. Though Bivol is not a big light heavyweight, his technical ability simply sets him apart from almost all opponents, and Salamov was just unable to do much of anything with him.
Bivol largely stuck to his sharp jab, which he uses as an actual weapon, but occasionally would bust out the right hand and some combinations, landing pretty nicely when he wanted to make a point or get back at Salamov for landing the odd good shoot.
Bivol, 30, goes into 2022 still holding his belt, still having some leverage, and still in need of a legitimate challenger, and there really might not be many at 175 lbs, which is not a knock on Bivol, who seems the sort of fighter who will do exactly as much as you make him, and while it can be frustrating to watch, it’s also hard to blame him.
The planned co-feature between Magomed Kurbanov and Patrick Teixeira was canceled at the last minute, though both fighters weighed in OK on Friday and both even made it to the venue, where Kurbanov had a reported 102 degree fever (39 degrees Celsius) and was pulled from the bout, quite understandably.
- Ruslan Kamilov KO-6 Dmitrii Khasiev: Decent little fight at junior lightweight, Khasiev (12-3-2, 6 KO) looked good for most of the first round before getting dropped late in round one on a lovely little right hand to the chin, and from there Kamilov (12-0-1, 6 KO) took over, finishing with a nasty body shot in the sixth round that evoked comparisons to when GGG obliterated Matthew Macklin. Kamilov is 33 and doesn’t seem headed for top world honors or anything, but he can fight. Good regional level guy, at least.
- Shavkat Rakhimov RTD-2 Sardor Muzaffarov: Honestly, a nothing fight for Rakhimov, who improves to 16-0-1 (13 KO) and is still a legitimate contender at 130, but that’s not meant as disrespect to Muzaffarov (4-5, 2 KO), who stepped in and took this fight on very short notice when Rakhimov’s original opponent pulled out. It gets Rakhimov active and possibly with the camp more than this fight, ready to get right at a possible IBF title shot against Kenichi Ogawa, which could be a hell of a fight for 2022. Muzaffarov tried his best here, but his corner seemed to be considering stopping it after one, and then did so after two.