Dmitry Bivol of St. Petersburg, Russia (14-0, 11 KOs) defeated former champion Jean Pascal of Montreal, Canada (33-6-1, 20 KOs) in a hard fought unanimous decision to retain his WBA Light Heavyweight Title.
Judges scored it 119-109 on two cards and 117-111 on the third.
Early in the fight, Bivol’s powerful right hook found a home, repeatedly hitting Pascal and knocking him too off balance to counter punch. Once Bivol saw he could deliver, he became even more aggressive, delivering punches to the body and leaving Pascal will little to offer.
Pascal’s devoted Canadian fans did their best to cheer on their champion. He found a little success in Round 4 landing a few solid punches, but Bivol remained in control of the fight, continue to win rounds.
Dmitry Bivol delivered impressive power combinations against Jean Pascal. Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events
The former champion decided to marshal all his energy for one final flurry to start the eighth round. Pascal successfully landed several solid punches including a terrific right counterpunch as Bivol responded. But the clock was ticking and Pascal’s fatigue slowly began to build as Bivol wore him down, but he kept coming forward and trading punches with Bivol, thrilling fans at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Etess Arena in Atlantic City.
As Bivol and Pascal worked toward the final bell, Bivol unleashed one last effort, wobbling but not stopping Pascal. The contest went to the judges’ scorecards, with Bivol winning by scores of 119-109 on two cards, and 117-111 on the third.
“Every time we shoot for a knockout,” said Bivol. “I try to show my boxing skills also. I hope everyone was happy with the fight, and I thank everyone for coming out to watch.
“(Pascal) used his experience and he was powerful in this fight. I used all of my skills to win this fight,” added Bivol.
“Bivol is a great young champion and I take my hat off to him as the top guy at light heavyweight,” said Pascal following the fight. “I was focused and prepared for this challenge, and I gave it my all, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough for me tonight.
“Now I will go back to Montreal with my head held high, enjoy some time with my family, and then after I take some time off I will sit down with (manager) Greg Leon and the rest of my team to see what’s next.”
What does Bivol’s future hold in one of boxing’s most competitive divisions? He has made no secret of wanting to unify the division. “I’m ready to fight (Eleider) Alvarez, (Sergey) Kovalev, or (Badou) Jack. Let’s make the fight,” said Bivol. But he didn’t limit himself to the champions. “Now I’m ready to fight everyone. Either light heavyweight or super middleweight,” said Bivol, who says he can make the 168 pound limit for the right opponent