Dmitry Bivol def. Joe Smith, Jr., UD (118-110, 119-109, 119-109)
It took him the full 12 rounds to do it, but Dmitry Bivol managed to pick up a solid victory over Joe Smith, Jr. tonight, earning a unanimous decision win. Smith is a fighter notorious for his toughness and his strong chin – this is after all a man who has had his chin broken twice in fights but has never hit the canvas. But over the course of the fight, Bivol simply outboxed and outclassed Smith. He worked behind a jab, mixed his punches up nicely, and just worked a smart, clean fight. The highlights for Bivol came in round 7, where he landed a great clean shot that wobbled Smith, but didn’t take him down, and then in the closing 10 seconds where he absolutely poured it on to end the fight strong.
Despite the loss, Smith did manage to make it interesting down the home stretch, hurting Bivol with the final punch of round 10 and launching a good rally in the championship rounds. It was not enough, but it definitely made for a tense ride to the final bell.
With the win, Bivol makes his fifth successful defense of the WBA Light Heavyweight title, while also extending his undefeated record to 16-0. He continues to assert himself as one of the dominant fighters in this new Light Heavyweight era, serving a good reminder that this is one of the top divisions in boxing to watch today. Smith drops to 24-3, and is now 1-2 since those 2016 back to back career making wins over Andrzej Fonfara and Bernard Hopkins.