Dmitry Bivol vs Joe Smith Jr. Preview March 9th
Unbeaten Dmitry Bivol of Russia will be defending his WBA Light Heavyweight Title against Joe Smith Jr. of Long Island, New York at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York this Saturday, March 9th. The 12-round bout can be seen live in North America on DAZN. Bivol last fought in November when he beat former world champion Jean Pascal by unanimous decision. Smith’s last outing was a first-round stoppage over Melvin Russell in June.
**Watch live on DAZN this Saturday. Your first month is free.
Bivol vs Smith Betting Odds
- Joe Smith Jr. +1000
- Dmitry Bivol -2000
The 28-year-old Bivol was born in Kyrgyzstan and now fights out of Saint Petersburg. He had an excellent amateur career with a record of 268-15 and won numerous national championships before turning pro in 2014. Since then he’s boxed 100 rounds and has compiled a perfect record of 15-0 with 11 Kos. He certainly has better-than-average power with a knockout ratio of 73 per cent, but has gone the distance in his last two outings. Bivol stands 6-feet-1-inch tall, but has an unlisted reach. He’s got smooth boxing skills and always seems to eventually wear his foes down with his heavy hands.
He’s faced a few decent opponents so far with wins over Pascal, Isaac Chilemba, Sullivan Barrera, Cedric Agnew, Robert Berridge and Felix Valera with Pascal, Chilemba and Barrera definitely being the best of the bunch. Bivol won the interim WBA Championship in May of 2016 when he beat Valera by a unanimous decision. He was elevated to full champion when Badou Jack gave up the WBA title after beating former champ Nathan Cleverly. However, fans would love to see him step up the level of opposition and try to unite the titles with WBC champ Oleksandr Gvozdyk, WBO belt holder Sergey Kovalev or IBF king Artur Beterbiev.
The 29-year-old Smith is a former WBC International Champion who dropped a 10-round unanimous decision and his title to Sullivan Barrera in July of 2017. Smith fought Russell as a hand-picked opponent in his last bout as a way to regain some of his lost confidence and to get back in the win column. Smith’s best known for stopping Bernard Hopkins in the eighth round in December of 2016 when he knocked him clean put of the ring in Hopkins’ farewell fight. He had made a name for himself after stopping Andrzej Fonfara in the first round six months earlier.
However, his hot streak then came to an end against Barrera even though Smith had him down in the first round. He’ll climb through the ropes against Bivol with a mark of 24-2 along with 19 Kos. He had a 17-fight winning streak going before losing to Barrera with with seven of his previous eight wins being by stoppage. Smith has shown that he has dynamite in his fists with a current knockout ratio of 77 per cent, including the stoppages over top-ranked boxers such as Fonfara and Hopkins. Smith stands 6-feet-tall with an unlisted reach and has fought 92 rounds since turning pro back in 2009.
Smith’s other pro defeat came at the hands of Eddie Caminero by a fourth-round TKO in 2010 in Smith’s seventh pro outing. Smith has also beaten the likes of Otis Griffin, Michael Gbenga, Tyrell Hendrix, Cory Cummings, and Will Rosinsky. He appears to be a fine knockout artist who throws good combinations and possesses a great right hand. However, he struggles when facing skilled boxers and those with more power than him.
If Smith uses his power, experience and aggressiveness to good effect he should be able to make a fight of it against Bivol. He certainly has to be aware of the champion’s power, but you never know which Bivol is going to show up. At his best, he looks like a devastating puncher who can take anybody out. However, he sometimes looks lethargic and is forced to go the distance. Perhaps Bivol fights to the level of his opponent. If that’s the case he’ll need to up his game on Saturday as Smith has plenty of power. Smith needs to outwork Bivol by a wide margin to win on points and that’s not likely to happen so his best chance is to land something heavy on the champ. Bivol will eventually break him down with punishing shots though and should retain his crown.
Bivol has just as much power as Smith and better boxing skills.
Play: Bivol -2000 @ BetOnline.ag
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