VERONA, N.Y. – Dmitry Bivol's skill level was just too hard to overcome for the upset Joe Smith Jr.
Bivol, with his fast hands, fast feet and sharp combinations, dominated Smith on Saturday night to retain his world lightweight title for the fifth time at Turning Stone Resort Casino.
The judges awarded Bivol a unanimous decision on the scores of 119-109, 119-109 and 118-110. ESPN also scored 118-109 for Bivol, who had to avoid Smith on the 10th and 11th rounds.
"Of course it was not an easy fight, I trained hard, but Joe Smith fought hard and he has strong hands," said Bivol.
Smith was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons after the fight and not available to give his point of view on the fight.
If Bivol stays with the DAZN sports streaming service and Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, his path to a fight for the unification of the 175-pound title is stalled because the other big light heavyweights – world champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk , title holders Sergey Kovalev and Artur Beterbiev, as well as former title "Storm" Alvarez – are with Top Rank and ESPN. Thus, Bivol's future big fight could come on the heels of the 168-pound super middleweight division, which he is willing and apparently able to do. That's where he could face Callum Smith, who is also fighting for DAZN and is promoted by Hearn.
Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs), 28, of England, eliminated George Groves in the seventh round to win the World Boxing Super Series super-middleweight final in September and never beaten since. have a fight planned.
"Yes, of course," said Bivol when asked if he could earn 168 pounds. "I had lunch before participating in this fight.You can say that I am not tall, Joe is taller than me.Other guys are bigger than me."
Joe Smith (24-3, 20 KOs), 29, from Long Island, New York, came out fast, trying to go straight to Bivol and impose his sizable advantage, but Bivol was calm under pressure and started keeping Smith early. out of it. He continued to separate Smith in the second round with more blows and also picked up a three-shot combination in the middle that left him a swelling on the left side of the face.
Smith landed a right hand to the head that buzzed Bivol in the fourth round, but he quickly shook it and returned to work by throwing his jab and his suits.
Smith could do nothing against the more skilful Bivol, whose speed of the hands and footwork, not to mention his straight and upright strokes, kept him out of balance.
Bivol (16-0, 11 KOs), 28, of Russia, injured Smith with a short left hand in the seventh round, forcing him to hold another dominant round for the title holder.
Maybe Smith was frustrated when they got entangled in the ninth round because he just slammed Bivol down, causing a strong warning from referee Gary Rosato.
Smith was the crowd's favorite and his fans tried to lift him later with the following vocals: "Come on, Joe! Come on, Joe!" He continued to plow forward, seeking a great right, to which he finally connected just at the end of the 10th round. Bivol was shaken by fire and returned to his corner, clearly unstable.
"I felt his right hand on the top of my head, on the side," Bivol said. "I lost balance but I did not have enough time to react.It was a good punch.Maybe I have not enough d & # 39; It was a big fight, but at the end of the fight, I felt that I could hit him, but that was not my goal. was a good defense Smart Boxing It's a smart sport and you have to think a lot. "
Smith attempted to lay another right hand while he was chasing Bivol around the ring in the 11th round, but he seemed so tired that he could not reach him anymore. Bivol had recovered in the 12th round and almost dropped Smith in the final seconds of the fight as he beat him with a punch attack.
According to Punch CompuBox statistics, Bivol scored 208 passes out of 714 (29%) and Smith 39 (39%).
Smith was trying to score a third great annoyance. He burst onto the world boxing scene in 2016, after greatly upset Andrzej Fonfara's knockout in the first round, before scoring another in December of the same year. shockingly knocked him out – and out of the ring – in the eighth round.
But then, in July 2017, he lost to Sullivan Barrera, a 10-round decision, in which he had a severely injured jaw. Smith was sidelined by the injury for 11 months before knocking out Melvin Russell in the first round in June, then seeing other dates and battles collapsing before it was over. finally reaches the coveted title against Bivol. The Russian wants to win another world title, whether in the category of light heavyweight or super-middleweight.
"I want to fight for another belt, I'm ready for a unification belt or to fight at 168," said Bivol. "I want to be remembered in this sport."