By Bob Caico at ringside
Photos: Boxing Bob Newman
WBA light heavyweight world champion Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11 KOs) retained his title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Joe Smith, Jr. (24-3, 20 KOs) on Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. The technically superior Bivol systematically compiled a 118-110, 119-109, 119-109 verdict.
Bivol from St. Petersburg, Russia controlled the fight with sharp, crisp combinations while Long Island’s Smith stalked but threw his hands wildly. Smith landed a good right hand in the third round but could not capitalize. Through seven rounds Bivol out-connected Smith with 31% connect rate to 9%. The champion continued to dominate the fight with intelligent boxing and accurate punches.
Smith landed an overhand right to the temple in the tenth just as the bell sounded and Bivol staggered to his corner. The challenger came out strong in the eleventh while the champ was trying to clear his head. Smith tried hard to get the champion out of there but couldn’t connect on a consistent basis.
The final round was all Bivol as he outboxed Smith and had him in serious trouble as the bell rang.