Dmitry Bivol could open the door to mega-fights at Super-Middleweight as he prepares to defend his WBA World Light-Heavyweight title against Joe Smith Jr on Saturday March 9 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Bivol (15-0 11 KOs) puts his crown on the line for the fifth time against Long Island’s Smith Jr (24-2 20KOs), who fights in his first World title bout. The champion has long stated his desire to unify the 175lbs division, but the unbeaten Russian has cast his eyes on the Super-Middleweight division and is excited by the prospect of potentially becoming a two-weight World champion.
“I’m not a big guy for Light-Heavyweight, and I can make Super-Middleweight, and I said many times that I want the big fights,” said Bivol. By that I mean that I want to fight for belts. If someone has a belt in Super-Middleweight or Light-Heavyweight division, I would be glad to fight them.
“I know Callum Smith has a belt, and I would like to fight him if he wants to, and if our promoters can make this fight. I am open for every fight for the belt now. There are many names who have belts. To the top ten from Light-Heavyweight and Super-Middleweight: I’m ready to fight.
“Boxing is a different sport to something like running. In running, you just have good speed. In boxing, you could have good speed, but this doesn’t mean you can win. I’m not the hardest puncher, I’m not the quickest fighter, but I have something that helps me to be a winner. I have enough speed, I think many speed from Light-Heavyweight have enough speed, the same power as me, maybe more power. I love this sport, because you don’t need to be the quickest or the strongest, I don’t know. I’m just one of the best. I have the best team, I have the best coach, maybe it’s because I believe in my skills.”
Smith Jr’s clash with Bivol is part of a huge night of action at Turning Stone Resort Casino with a second mouthwatering World title fight on the bill in the shape of Maurice Hooker (25-0-3 17 KOs) defending his WBO World Super-Lightweight title against Brooklyn’s Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1 10KOs).
Callum Johnson (17-1-0 12KOs) and Sean Monaghan (29-2-0 17KOs) will both have a keen eye on the Bivol-Smith Jr. clash as they battle in a crunch fight in the 175lbs division, Uzbek amateur star Israil Madrimov (1-0 1KO) defends his WBA Inter-Continental Super Welterweight title against Frank Rojas (24-2-0 23 KOs), World-ranked heavyweight contender Sergey Kuzmin, (14-0 11 KOs), of St. Petersburg, Russia will battle Philadelphia based veteran Joey Dawejko, (19-6-4 11 KOs) and Otha Jones III makes his pro debut on the card.
RUNNING ORDER FOR TURNING STONE
6.30pm 4 x 3 mins Middleweight Contest
Nikita Ababiy 162lbs v Cory Dulaney 160lbs
Brooklyn, New York Whitehall, Ohio
6 x 3 mins Super-Lightweight Contest
Otha Jones III 132 1/2lbs v Giorgi Gelashvili 134 1/4lbs
Toledo, Ohio Brooklyn, New York
7.45pm 10 x 3 mins WBA Inter-Continental Super-Welterweight Championship
Israil Madrimov 151 1/2lbs v Frank Rojas 152 1/2lbs
Indio, California Caracas, Venezuela
8.30pm 10 x 3 mins WBA Inter-Continental Heavyweight Championship
Sergiy Kuzmin 248 1/2lbs v Joey Dawejko 250lbs
St. Petersburg, Russia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
WORLD FEED 9:00 PM
10 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight Contest
Callum Johnson 173lbs v Sean Monaghan 174lbs
Boston, England Long Beach, New York
10pm 12 x 3 mins WBO World Super-Lightweight Championship
Maurice Hooker 140lbs* v Mikkel LesPierre 138 3/4lbs
Dallas, Texas New York, New York
*Hooker initially weighed 140 1/2lbs
11pm 12 x 3 mins WBA World Light-Heavyweight Championship
Dmitry Bivol 173 1/2lbs v Joe Smith Jr. 173lbs
Saint Petersburg, Russia Long Island, New York
FLOAT 8 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight Contest
Junior Younan 171.5lbs v Derrek Findley 172lbs
Brooklyn, New York Merrillville, Indiana