By Igor Lazorin, tass
Dmitry Bivol retained his light heavyweight belt Saturday night with a unanimous decision victory over former WBC/IBO champion Jean Pascal.
The unbeaten Russian boxer won by scores of 119-109 on two cards and 117-111 on the third in the bout at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Etess Arena.
Bivol (15-0, 11 KOs), who owns the WBA’s version of the 175-pound title, said he wanted to fight another of the division’s champions next and if he couldn’t would even consider dropping down for the right bout at super middleweight.
The victory over Pascal (33-6-1, 20 KOs) came in the main event of HBO’s final “World Championship Boxing” card. The network plans to stop boxing coverage after 45 years.
There was a lot of criticism over the outcome. Pascal is years past his best days and most insiders picked Bivol to win by knockout in the first six rounds. Pascal, who is close to the end of his career, has not been very active and suffered vicious TKO defeats at the hands of former champion Sergey Kovalev.
The head coach of the Russian boxing team, Eduard Kravtsov, says Bivol needs to step things up in his camp. He was not impressed by his countryman’s performance.
“We didn’t see anything new in this fight, Bivol worked in his own way – without risk,” Kravtsov said. “He did not force the fight. In the middle rounds it was clear that he wasn’t pushing the issue or do anything to initiate that. The fight itself.. it turned out to be not that spectacular.
“Perhaps Dmitry should add something to his arsenal. The fights need to be completed more effectively.”