Dmitry Bivol outclasses determined Joe Smith/Maurice Hooker retains WBO Crown

Multi-talented Dmitry Bivol defended his light heavyweight title by winning a wide decision over hard-hitting Joe Smith Jr. By Derek Bonnett

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bivol vs Smith Jr pic Ed Mulholland scroller.jpg
bivol vs Smith Jr pic Ed Mulholland scroller.jpg

Dmitry Bivol defended his light heavyweight title and further advanced his claim as the premiere light heavyweight in the world today with a comprehensive showing against hard-hitting Joe Smith Jr. The twelve-round world championship bout was hosted by Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY, just one exit from the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The fight itself fell short of memorable, but the result had importance to the division as no less than four boxers have worthy claim to the top spot.

 

Smith, 29, controlled first minute of round one with his jab and forward motion. Bivol, who traveled from Russia, patiently observed and used his gloves mostly for defense. Smith worked harder than the champion and threw much more. Bivol lets his hands go in round two. Smith’s aggression was taken better advantage of as the champion used his superior timing to beat his challenger to the punch. Bivol tapped the body and followed up with combinations to the head. Smith still held his own. Bivol was backed up by Smith’s pumping jab. Not a lot of clean shots landed in the frame. Smith pressured, but Bivol nicked the cleaner output. Smith’s left eye was closed as he came out for the fourth. Bivol stabbed with his jab economically. Smith then waded in for the kill early after connecting with his right. The champion absorbed the blow, well, like a champion. Bivol’s legs created a most excellent defense. It was good round by both fighters with Bivol doing enough to unofficially lead 39-38 after four rounds.

 

Smith, hailing from Long Island, looked for his overhand right in the fifth. Bivol proved too smart to not counter while Smith hunted for the KO hastily. The left hook by Bivol landed throughout the round. Smith missed more than the rounds before. However, he kept up his effort in the sixth, but Bivol had absorbed enough of his game to move and counter. Bivol connected with more power and Smith started to look the part of a beaten fighter as he trudged forward unable to get his punches off first. The phrase “Class showing over time” defined this fight. Smith got caught clean and was stunned by Bivol’s hook. Smith waded back in to smother the attack effectively with a clinch. Smith showed no surrender and punched on in the eighth. Bivol still connected the more telling blows while his challenger pressed. Smith jabbed in search of his power punches, but never found them. Bivol’s boxing built a 79-74 at SecondsOut.

 

Bivol, 28, was body slammed by Smith during clinch in the eighth. Smith’s state of mind became clear as Bivol beat him to the punch time and time again. Both pugilists traded hooks; Bivol connected. Smith caught only leather gloves while Bivol scored to the chin with his punches in the ninth. Smith whiffed with a huge hook and ate Bivol’s counter hook. Yet, high drama would surface in round ten as Bivol got hurt at the bell by a right hand. The champion wobbled to his corner only to be greeted by an angry trainer. Bivol began the eleventh moving backward. Smith remained calm trying to build upon his moment. Tense action followed as neither man fully asserted himself, but Bivol remained a different fighter. Bivol landed his shots, but more respectfully than we had seen all night. A right hand by Smith landed again, but the champion was back in control. Smith bled from his left eye and nose in the final seconds of the round. Bivol back pedaled in the twelfth and countered Smith as he measured with the jab. Smith failed to make a last stand as Bivol boxed off the back foot. It was Bivol who unloaded in final seconds.

 

In the end, SecondsOut saw the contest 118-111 for Bivol. The official judges were on par with 118-110 and 119-109 twice. Bivol upped his record to 16-0-0 (11) whilst retaining his title for the fourth time. Smith dipped to 24-3-0 (20).

 

On the undercard, a weight-challenged Maurice Hooker dominated Mikkel Lespierre over twelve rounds to retain his 140-pound title. Hooker, by way of Dallas, Texas, had Lespierre down in the fifth, but it was ruled a slip. Lespierre again touched the canvas in the ninth. The three judges saw the bout 120-107, 119-108, and 118-109 to give Hooker his second title defense. Hooker raised his ledger to 26-0-3 (17). Lespierre fell to 21-1-1 (10).

 

 

 

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