By Matt Richardson at ringside
Photos: Emily Harney
WBA light heavyweight title-holder Dmitry Bivol continued to impress in the co-featured fight of the night by dominating contender Sullivan Barrera over twelve rounds before finishing him off with a violent knockout with just seconds remaining in the fight on Saturday night at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York City.
Bivol (13-0, 11 KO’s) dominated the fight early on despite being cut near the right eye in the second round. Bivol’s power and aggressive style kept Barrera backpedaling throughout and the Cuban had difficulty landing anything of significance. Barrera (21-2, 14 KO’s) was also cut and swollen in the fight but around the mid-point of the bout he started doing better by sticking and moving around the ring.
The fight devolved into a match-up between Barrera’s boxing skills and Bivol’s ability to both cut off the ring and connect with his power shots. A large bump on the left side of Bivol’s forehead developed around the seventh and eighth rounds but his corner was able to reduce the swelling and stem the blood flow from his earlier cut.
But just when the fight looked like it was going the distance, Bivol stepped in with a big shot in the 12th that violently dropped Barrera onto the canvas. Referee Harvey Dock got to one knee and started counting but Barrera rose slowly and unsteadily. He barely got to his feet by the count of eight, at which point Dock called the fight off. There were 79 seconds left in the fight.
“In the 12th round I knew I could knock him out so I stepped on the gas,” Bivol said in the ring after. “He showed me a lot of things I still need to work on.”