Over in Russia earlier today we saw WBA Light Heavyweight "super" champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11) retain his title as he easily over-came the bigger, but much more limited Umar Salamov (26-2, 19).
From the opening moments it was clear the two men didn't really belong in the ring together. Bivol, although visibly smaller, was so much quicker, sharper and cleaner with both his defense his offense. In fact he made Salamov look slower and clumsier than he actually is, and did saw whilst regularly standing just outside of Salamov's range, drawing right hands from the challenger for slip and counter.
For the first half of the fight it was easy, simple dominant work from Bivol who seemed to be fighting within himself and still completely controlling Salamov, who was punished when he did land, with Salamov's rare connects just spurring on Bivol to hurt his man.
In round 8 Salamov's face was clearly marking up and it was obvious he wasn't going to be able to turn this around. In fact if anything his corner should have been considering pulling him out of the bout. Instead they continued to leave him in the ring, hoping that he'd be able to land a fight changing shot. That resulted in him taking some really solid shots in round 9 as Bivol, for the first time, put his foot on the gas and looked for a finish, only for Salamov to see out the storm.
In the final rounds Salamov had a little more success, and did manage to get Bivol to back up and get his respect, but that was about the best he had as he continued to be out landed, worked, out boxed, out skilled and made to come off second best.
After 12 rounds we went to the score cards and all 3 judges scored it in favour of Bivol, though surprisingly all 3 judges managed to find sympathy rounds to Salamov, though that's all they were, late sympathy rounds for a man who had been well and truly beaten.
For a Bivol this was actually quite entertaining, something that his recent bouts haven't been, though it was clear that Salamov was very out of his depth and didn't belong in a world title bout. Fingers crossed a unification bout is next for Bivol, as that's the type of bout we feel he needs to show what he can really do, and that bouts like this do little so bring the best out of a fighter like him.
Every so often a fighter comes along that looks special, the most recent of those is Dmitry Bivol (7-0, 6) who successfully claimed the WBA “interim” Light Heavyweight title with a dominant win over Felix Valera (13-1, 12).
The talented and hotly tipped Bivol was stepping up in class, as he has done with everyone of his fights, and was expected to be pushed hard by Valera, who had impressed in out pointing Stanislav Kashtanov last year. Instead however he made it look easy as he showed a real maturity and calmness to his boxing from the first round.
The opening round was a slow and patient from both men, with neither looking to take risks. As the fight progressed the risk taking didn't really change, but Bivol managed to up the pressure, force Valera backwards. When he was doing that he was winning rounds with his calm and accurate punching being too much for Valera who was trying to counter, but wasn't given the opportunity. In round 3 that work rate saw Valera struggling, whilst in round 5 Valera seemed to show the first signs that he was worried about Bivol's power.
It was smart of Valera to be wary, but that didn't help and in round 6 he was caught by some bombs from Bivol, who dropped Valera and almost came close to stopping Valera who was very lucky to see out the round, and looked completely done.
Valera had recovered in round 7, but that was a temporary relief with Bivol unloading on Valera in round 8, and against dropping dropping the champion, who was forced to take a huge amount of punishment through the round.
Knowing he was well in the lead, especially given the two knockdowns, Bivol seemed to relax, slow down and take a breather in round 9. The championship rounds again saw Bivol step it up, but it seemed clear that he was happy to take the win without risking too much, he came forward, patiently and intelligently pressed the action and although Valera had his moments it was always a controlled effort from Bivol.
Given the dominant performance their was no doubting the winner, with Bivol taking the bout thanks to scores of 119-107, twice, and 116-111.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.