WBO Light-Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol (16-0-0, 11KO) was victorious, successfully making the 4th defense of his world title by defeating Joe Smith Jr. (24-3-0, 20KO) by wide unanimous decision.
From an all-around perspective, this was the best overall outing of his professional career, demonstrating technical mastery with ring distance, pinpoint accuracy, combination and counter punching, getting through and around Smiths guard, consistently beating him to the punch.
Smith being the ironclad warrior that he is damn sure didn’t make this an easy night though. Throughout all 36 minutes, he put his best foot forward, doing whatever he could to slow down and damage the Champion.
Smith’s vaunted right hand found home and actually staggered the Champion in the 4th round, who held on immediately to try and secure his legs and gather his bearings. Bivol however never lost his poise or concentration, quickly shaking it off to get back to controlling the ring, and picking the challenger apart.
In the 7th round, Bivol managed to hurt Smith with a beautiful counter check-hook, and wobbled the man with the granite chin. Smith, who never been down in his entire career was able to stay up, however he was aware of the power that Bivol had himself from that point on.
As time progressed, Bivol’s dominance grew stronger, with a higher degree of power shots landing. In the 9th round, out of sheer frustration, while clinched, Smith picked up Bivol and slammed him to the canvas, with no point deduction penalty dished out, just a stern warning from Referee Gary Rosato.
The end of the 10th round was something to see, being that simultaneous with the bell ending the round, Joe Smith landed a crippling right hand to Bivol’s jaw that had serious knockout intentions on it. Bivol was badly damaged, to the point where he staggered profusely and wobbled his way back to his corner.
While Bivol was in a daze that carried over to the next round, Joe Smith tried to do what he could to get the Champion in a fit of trouble once again, and pressed the action, but mentally Bivol wouldn’t budge.
As the fight was winding down in the 12th, they dished out what they had left. When Bivol heard the final 10-second marker, he went ballistic and bludgeoned Smith with a litany of combinations that seemingly had Smith ready to go, in fact I believe if the fight was 5 seconds longer, Smith could’ve possibly been knocked out.
This was a very respectable performance for Joe Smith, who is someone who I’d like to have line up next to me in a street brawl, a tough fighter indeed. Bivol also showed that he is a supreme technician who is improving before our eyes, and that it takes a lot to get him out of there, or to mentally take him off his game, showing to be one of the best that we have around his weight class.
Here were the official scorecards and how we scored it…
Don Trella = 118- 110 for DMITRY BIVOL
Tom Schreck = 119 – 109 for DMITRY BIVOL
Glenn Feldman = 119 – 109 for DMITRY BIVOL
PROJECT COMBAT SCORE
Tré Berry = 117 – 111 for DMITRY BIVOL