Verona, New York:On Saturday night, WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol (15-0, 11 KOs), the young and crafty Russian, looks to keep momentum alive as he battles the big power-puncher Joe Smith, Jr. (24-2, 20 KOs) in Smith’s backyard at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY and streaming live on DAZN. The scouting report for this exciting match-up is below:
Joe Smith Jr.
15-0-0 (11 KOs)
24-2-0 (20 KOs)
Dmitry is incredibly elusive in the ring, he has a granite chin and solid power in his shots. He gained a vast amount of experience in his recent title defense over former champion Jean Pascal.
Joe Smith has incredible heart and an iron chin. He has knockout power in both hands and has earned stoppage wins over former champions Bernard Hopkins and Andrzej Fonfara.
Bivol is coming into this match lacking the professional experience that his opponent possesses.
Smith has been inactive as of late, only competing twice in the previous two years.
Although he lacks the professional experience in comparison to his opponent, he is establishing himself as a force in the light heavyweight division.
Smith has been fighting at the professional level for about 10 years, while also earning notable wins along the way.
Bivol has a powerful jab and vicious right hand. He is guilty in handing the always-durable Sullivan Barrera his first stoppage loss just one year ago.
His power may be his biggest strength, he has heavy hands and throws with bad intentions. He handed the future hall-of-famer Bernard Hopkins his only career stoppage loss in 2016 when he knocked Hopkins out of the ring.
The champion possesses possibly the fastest hands at 175-pounds. He’s quick with the jab and even quicker with his combinations.
The challenger maintains a steady pace throughout the fight. He saves his energy for the finish in which he does a good job of turning it up a notch.
He proved in his last two outings that he can handle going a full 12-rounds: defeating the always-crafty Isaac Chilemba and former champion Jean Pascal.
Although he has never been pushed for 12-rounds, he proved his toughness and grit when he went 10-rounds with Sullivan Barrera despite a broken jaw.
Dmitry has a pinpoint accurate jab that he follows-up with rigorous combinations to the head and body.
Smith’s accuracy isn’t on par with his opponent. However, if he lands one clean shot then the night can come to an early end.
Bivol is very elusive in the ring, which causes major problems for his opponents in getting off effective shots.
Smith is an offensive-minded fighter; there is no feeling out process in the ring with him. He presses the action from start to finish in overwhelming fashion.
It is safe to say that the champion’s chin is more than durable. He took some big shots in his previous bout with Jean Pascal but was able to execute his game plan in a hard-fought win.
Although he was stopped once in 2010, Smith has since flipped the script completely on any doubt regarding his chin. He put on a courageous effort with Sullivan Barrera in 2017 after suffering a broken jaw in the second round.
Dmitry is a very busy and aggressive fighter in the ring. He’s constantly throwing his opponents off balance with his movements and continuously unleashes combinations throughout the fight.
Joe fights with confidence and believes he can go toe-to-toe with anybody in the division. He likes to press the action as soon as the bell rings because he can end the fight with just one shot.
Credit to the champion who will be competing for the 8th time in just two years. He is very active and has fully embraced the role as a young titleholder in a very talent-stacked division. In his most recent title-defense, he was able to withstand the physical and aggressive pressure that Jean Pascal is famous for. Similar to Pascal, Joe Smith delivers the same power and aggressiveness only with more torque in his shots. Any lingering questions regarding the champion’s chin will be answered in this bout.
Joe Smith put himself on the map back in 2016 when he embraced the underdog role against former title challenger Andrzej Fonfara; a fight in which he won via a first round TKO. Nearly three years down the road, he finds himself embracing the underdog role again, this time in his backyard and with the WBA Light Heavyweight title at stake. Joe is no stranger to spoiling parties, he spoiled the retirement party of future hall-of-famer Bernard Hopkins just two years ago and plans on doing the same against a fighter who many refer to as the future of the division.
Although he earned the biggest win of his young career in his last outing with former champion Jean Pascal, it may not be enough to earn him the significant crowd support considering he is fighting in Smith’s home state.
Smith is a finisher and is also a native of New York, most of the crowd will be in his corner.
1. Will Joe Smith’s inactivity show in this fight?
2. Will Dmitry be able to handle Joe Smith’s power?
3. Will Joe Smith be able to handle the pressure and speed of Dmitry?
4. Will Dmitry be able to stay away from Joe Smith power, while fighting his fight at the same time?
According Main Events’ Matchmaker, Jolene Mizzone, “This match-up is a great one! Joe Smith gained national attention with his upset against a legend in Bernard Hopkins, the future Hall-of-Famer. Opponents are not lining up to face Dmitry Bivol but the champion is willing to fight anyone at any time. Despite the buzz around Bivol, Smith is ready to step up and take on the young champion and prove he ranks among the top contenders in the stacked light heavyweight division.”