Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11 KOs) notched yet another dominant performance as he easily defeated Joe Smith Jr. (24-3, 20 KOs) by unanimous decision on Saturday, March 9, 2019.
118-110, and 119-109 twice were the judges scorecards that were in favor of Bivol.
The Turning Stone Resort & Casino in New York is where this contest took place as Bivol quickly made the arena feel like home.
Things started off as they normally do in Bivol’s contests, as he was simply dominant in the first few rounds. Smith Jr. just couldn’t find a home for anything successful for much of the early rounds.
Having seemingly settled in, Smith Jr. buzzed his man briefly in the fourth round. It was by far the best round he had up to that point. Bivol did a much better job of staying out of the way of Smith Jr.’s power shots and boxed effectively.
With the victory almost assuredly slipping though his fingers, Smith Jr. began to really let his hands go. In Round 10 it paid off as he had Bivol hurt with a right hand at the end of the round. The challenger did a good job of keeping up the pressure in the following round. Bivol preferred to spend the 11th moving much more than normal.
The final round saw Bivol stand his ground and deliver a ton of hard shots in the final few seconds. It seemed as though Bivol could have been on his way to a stoppage victory as Smith Jr. was seriously hurt. Bivol couldn’t close the show with a KO, but did more than enough to win on the judges scorecards.
The win ensured that Bivol’s WBA Light Heavyweight title stayed wrapped around his waist. With just 16 fights under his belt, Bivol has proven to be one of if not the best in the division.
Matchups against one of the other belt holders now seems to be on the horizon. As for Smith Jr., he just didn’t do enough. It was a respectable showing, but he will have to rebuild his status before he can jump back into title contention.