Dmitry Bivol retained his WBA light heavyweight title in a shutout over Lyndon Arthur, Daniel Dubois stopped Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, and we did get one upset on today’s Day of Reckoning undercard in Riyadh.
Bivol improved to 22-0 (11 KO) with his only fight of 2023, winning on three scores of 120-107 over Arthur (23-2, 16 KO), who encountered a somewhat more aggressive Bivol early in the fight, then largely shelled up.
There is some credit to be given Arthur for going the full 12 against a Bivol who did, at least at times, look like he wanted a stoppage, but he also fought negatively for the vast majority of the bout.
Bivol now hopes to fight the winner of January’s Artur Beterbiev vs Callum Smith fight.
“It was good sparring for me. Lyndon was using a good jab,” Bivol said. “I’m glad at the end of the year, I got this fight, and now I see my goal, to [become] undisputed. I hope this fight will happen in 2024.”
The WBC — who control one of the three belts Beterbiev holds — would have to change their stance on Russian fighters who still say they are from Russia for the fight to happen for all four major light heavyweight titles.
Beterbiev, like Bivol, was born in Russia, but lists himself as fighting out of Canada, where he has lived for many years. Bivol still represents Russia.
Daniel Dubois TKO-10 Jarrell Miller
“Big Baby” Miller talked a lot in the build to this fight, and he was competitive for the first half or so, and then he was pretty much done. The 333 lb Miller just did not have the gas tank to keep seriously competing, and Dubois was just the better fighter, period.
Dubois (20-2, 19 KO) really hammered away on Miller (26-1-1, 22 KO) in the 10th round, leading to the referee stopping the fight.
The idea that this will be “the end” for Miller is ridiculous, to be clear. He’s a charismatic guy who can talk up a fight better than just about anyone. He’ll get more fights if he wants them, and he’ll get them at a notable level, too.
And to give Miller some credit, too, he shook Dubois’ hand and congratulated his foe. The act was over, the fight had gone how it went, and he openly told the world that Dubois had earned his respect.
It’s obvious that if Miller wants to really compete at top level ever, he’s going to have to drop some weight. Nobody’s reasonably suggesting he get down to 250 or anything, but an even three bills would be a huge step and give him a lot more pep in the ring — if he can do it. He said as much in his post-fight comments.
This was really probably more of a “must-win” for Dubois, who is far younger but had been tagged as a quitter, which to many boxing fans is much worse than spectacularly failing several drug tests. A loss here, to a Miller-level opponent instead of Usyk or even Joe Joyce, might have seen him truly questioning his own future.
Agit Kabayel TKO-4 Arslanbek Makhmudov
If you’re read my posts long enough, you know I try to avoid being someone who over-uses terms like “exposed,” but this was Makhmudov getting utterly exposed and battered into submission, looking like little more than a plodding, loaded-up, one-speed fighter with no depth to his game.
Kabayel (24-0, 16 KO) had a real breakout here, and the 31-year-old European champ could find himself in the mix for much bigger chances in 2024. Makhmudov (
Jai Opetaia TKO-1 Ellis Zorro
Easy win for Opetaia (24-0, 19 KO), who landed a crushing shot that put Zorro (17-1, 7 KO) down hard. If the bottom rope hadn’t caught Zorro’s head, it could have been even worse, but he was up and aware and all that after.
Opetaia vacated the IBF cruiserweight title earlier this week to take this fight, which was a huge payday for him, but he still has the Ring’s belt, for whatever that’s worth, and he’s still universally seen as the best cruiserweight in the world, unless you’re related to Chris Billam-Smith, maybe.
Filip Hrgovic TKO-1 Mark De Mori
Exactly the embarrassing nothing mismatch we expected for the IBF’s mandatory challenger at heavyweight.
Hrgovic is now 17-0 (13 KO), while De Mori goes to 41-3-2 (36 KO).
Frank Sanchez TKO-7 Junior Fa
Sanchez started slow here, which for some reason surprised Sergio Mora and Darren Barker, who maybe have not watched a Frank Sanchez fight before. But eventually, the Cuban started piecing it together, and late in the sixth he put Fa down.
Two more knockdowns came in the seventh, leading to the stoppage at 2:42.
Sanchez (24-0, 17 KO) could wind up in line for a vacant IBF title fight next year depending on what happens with that belt. The 31-year-old Cuban was a heavy favorite in this fight and ultimately showed why, as the 34-year-old Fa falls to 20-3 (11 KO).