Dmitry Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs) handed former world title challenger Isaac Chilemba (25-6-2, 10 KOs) his sixth career defeat by beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision in successfully defending his WBA light heavyweight title on Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Chilemba, 31, gave up on the losing side of the following scores: 120-108, 120-108 and 116-112. The last score seemed to be out of place for the fight that too place tonight, because Chilemba didn’t appear to win four rounds. At best, Chilemba deserved to win one round, but that’s it. He was too listless for him to be given more than one round.
Bivol, 27, landed the harder and cleaner shots throughout the 12 round contest. Chilemba did have his moments in the fight in landing some nice punches, but those were few and far in between. Chilemba’s size advantage helped him against Bivol, who looked at least 10 pounds lighter. Another thing that helped Chilemba was Bivol not using his right hand after the first six rounds. Bivol appeared to have hurt his right hand early on, and this may have factored into his decision not to throw punches with his right hand.
Bivol looked sharp in the early going, bouncing big punches off the head of Chilemba, and keeping him from landing his punches with regularity. Chilemba took a lot of heavy punishment in the first six rounds. The shots that Chilemba was eating would have knocked out most fighters in the light heavyweight division. He showed a great chin in absorbing Bivol’s best punches in the first six rounds.
Chilemba was trying to land his own punches, but Bivol covered up well to block his return fire. The only shots that Chilemba was able to land with any regularity were his stiff jab, which he would repeatedly throw. However, Chilemba wasn’t going to win the fight based on his jab. He needed to throw more power punches, but he couldn’t land his shots because they kept getting picked off on the arms and gloves of Bivol.
“Chilemba is a good fighter, and he had champion spirit tonight,” said Bivol after the fight. “He is a strong fighter. I want to fight more good fighters. I don’t know who my next opponent will be. We will see what will happen … I just want to fight the best fighters.”
Bivol’s best chance at landing a big fight against a top guy will be for him to go after IBF champion Artur Beterbiev. He would likely be open to facing Bivol. WBC champion Adonis Stevenson is going to need to defend against interim WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Eleider Alvarez, the new WBO champion, is going to likely be tied down giving Sergey Kovalev a rematch.
Chilemba seemed to be in denial after the fight about his loss, believing that he should have been given victory. Chilemba thinks that he swept the last eight rounds of the fight. In other words, Chilemba thinks he should have won the fight by a 116-112 score in winning eight rounds to four. It didn’t look like Chilemba won more than one round. If he wanted to win the fight, he needed to take the fight to Bivol and land his shots a lot more than he did.
“I believe I won every round from the fifth. I pushed Bivol backwards and made him miss. I deserve a rematch,” Chilemba said.
Chilemba made it interesting in landing single pot shots, and jabs in the last seven rounds. However, there wasn’t enough of those shots getting through Bivol’s guard for Chilemba to be given much credit.
It mostly it looked like Bivol slowed down on his own accord. He was using his left hand for most of his shots in the second half of the fight, and looking like there was something wrong with his right.
Bivol received some rotten news in World Boxing Organization light heavyweight champion Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev losing to challenger Eleider ‘Storm’ Alvarez by a 7th round knockout in the main event on Saturday night. Bivol had been hoping to face Koalev later this year in a unification fight on HBO. Unfortunately with the loss, Kovalev won’t be facing Bivol in November or December. It would be nice if Main Events were able to match Bivol against Eleider Alvarez in a unification fight, but that doesn’t look too promising.