Sport Dmitry Bivol gets past Craig Richards to retain title
Craig Richards says the pressure is all on Dmitry Bivol ahead of their world light-heavyweight title fight
The Croydon fighter is a big underdog against the unbeaten and hugely-avoided champ, but he wouldn't have it any other way. Richards (16-1-1, 9 KOs), has put together an impressive winning streak since his only professional loss to Frank Buglioni in 2017, last defeating rival Shakan Pitters in December to win the British light-heavy belt in an all-out war.
Dmitry Bivol was just good enough in his return to the ring after a 19-month hiatus.
Bivol got off to a quick start and then held on to defeat first-time title challenger Craig Richards by a unanimous decision to retain his 175-pound belt on the Joseph Parker-Derek Chisora card Saturday in Manchester, England.
Bivol (18-0, 11 KOs) was pleased with his performance given the long layoff.
“It was tough for me” the Russian said in English. “He’s a smart boxer, he thinks all fight, he thinks [about] what he will do. But after 1½ years rest, I think it’s OK.
“It’s a normal performance for me.”
Chisora vs Parker: Live coverage, 1 pm ET
Derek Chisora and Joseph Parker headline a big card today from Manchester!We’ll be here with live coverage, including round-by-round for Chisora-Parker and Taylor-Jonas, plus highlights and fight-by-fight updates, all in this stream:
Bivol outworked Richards (16-2-1, 9 KOs) through about eight rounds, which gave him a lead on the scorecards. Then, around the ninth round, Richards began to fight with more urgency and climbed back into the fight.
The problem for the Londoner was that it was too late by that time. He couldn’t make up the lost ground.
The judges scored it 118-110, 115-113 and 115-114, all in favor of Bivol. Boxing Junkie had it 117-111 for Bivol, who landed many more clean shots than Richards did.
Bivol has expressed interest in unifying light heavyweight titles. However, fellow beltholders Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr. are expected to fight one another.
Bivol also has suggested he might be willing to move down to 168 pounds, where he could target the winner of the May 8 Canelo Alvarez-Billy Joe Saunders fight.
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