The very first bridgerweight world title fight took place last night in Quebec, Canada, with Oscar Rivas (Photo: WBC) overcoming a game Ryan Rozicki to become the very first champion at the new weight that was created by the WBC (200 to 224 pounds). And as critical as almost everyone has been in ‘welcoming’ a new weight division to a sport that plenty of people feel is already overly cluttered by them, last night’s fight was a great action affair.
Rivas and Rozicki put on a show, with both men engaging heavily in a thoroughly entertaining slugfest. In the end, after some switches in momentum, Rivas pulled out the 12 round unanimous decision victory by scores of 116-111 and 115-112, 115-112. Rivas of Colombia is now 29-1(19). Rozicki of Canada lost for the first time as a pro and he is now 13-1(13).
It was good action right from the start, with Rivas rocking his man towards the end of the opening session. Rozicki came back and the two traded in a fiery second-round. For a time, it seemed younger man Rozicki might take over, getting the better of things as he was in rounds three and four. But Rivas turned the tables in the middle and later rounds, taking turns to brawl and box and move. Rivas was docked a point for a low blow in the 12th and final round but he had done enough to get the win.
Both men gave a good account of themselves and if all bridgerweight fights turn out to be as exciting and as fan-friendly as last night’s battle, we will perhaps slowly but surely accept the new weight division. It will be interesting to see where Rivas goes next, who he makes his first title defence against. As for Rozicki, he can definitely come again. At age 26 to Rivas’ 34, Rozicki was not overwhelmed by the new champion’s significant edge in experience.
I wonder, will Rivas, beaten only by Dillian Whyte, this via close decision, stay at bridgerweight, or might he go back up to heavyweight if a big fight presents itself there?