Bivol dominates Arthur, retains WBA 175-lb. belt

Boxing

Dmitry Bivol retained his WBA light heavyweight title with a shutout decision victory over Lyndon Arthur on Saturday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Bivol floored Arthur with a body-shot barrage in the closing moments of the penultimate round and was named the 120-107 winner on all three scorecards.

“It was good sparring for me,” said Bivol, ESPN’s reigning Fighter of the Year. “I’m glad that the end of the year I got this fight and now I see my way to my goal, to undisputed [championship] against the winner of [Artur] Beterbiev-[Callum] Smith. I hope this fight will happen in 2024.”

Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs) said he wanted the knockout but didn’t feel confident enough in his surgically-repaired left hand to push himself more.

Bivol, who fights out of Saint Petersburg, Russia, defeated Canelo Alvarez and Gilberto Ramirez last year. He had hand surgery in April and didn’t fight in 2023 until this night.

And when he did enter the ring, Bivol looked like his usual self, an elite boxer with superb footwork and one of boxing’s best jabs. The 33-year-old used his precise lead hand to dictate the action all fight and set up his power right hands.

Bivol, ESPN’s No. 5 pound-for-pound boxer, was a -2500 favorite, per ESPN BET. And it was every bit that mismatch in the ring, too.

“I felt like I did all right, but obviously not good enough,” said Arthur (23-2, 16 KOs). “One of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He’s as good as everyone thinks he is. I believe he’ll beat Beterbiev.”

Arthur’s lone previous defeat was a fourth-round KO vs. Anthony Yarde in 2021. The 32-year-old Englishman entered the bout rated No. 9 by ESPN at 175 pounds.

Bivol, though, is rated No. 1, but he needs a fight against the winner of the Jan. 13 bout between Beterbiev and Smith to determine light heavyweight supremacy.

“Dmitry’s committed now with Saudi to make that fight,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.

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