Dmitry Bivol retains WBA belt with unanimous decision win over Joe Smith Jr in New York

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Dmitry Bivol wants big-name fights after win over Joe Smith Jr

Dmitry Bivol defended his WBA light-heavyweight title with a dominant points win over Joe Smith Jr in New York on Saturday night.

The Russian had to withstand a late rally from Smith Jr, but hurt the stubborn challenger on a number of occasions to earn a unanimous decision with scores of 118-110, 119-109 and 119-109.

Aggressive early tactics from Smith Jr seemed to suit Bivol, who calmly countered the onrushing American with a stiff right hand in the opener.

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Bivol displayed his power and classy skills against Smith Jr

Smith Jr was trying to gain the champion's respect with a flurry of punches, but walked into another combination in the second.

Smoothly moving into range, Bivol pumped out more precise shots in the third, but was briefly forced to hold by a big right hand from Smith Jr in the fourth.

Dmitry Bivol
Image: The Russian gradually stepped up his punishing assault

Spurred on by that success, the New Yorker continued to march forward in the fifth, although Bivol stopped him in his tracks with a crisp counter in the sixth.

A big left hand threatened to unravel the defences of Smith Jr in the seventh, with Bivol pounding in hurtful punches, and the American was bullied to the ropes in the eighth.

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Dmitry Bivol
Image: Smith Jr produced a spirited response in the later rounds

As the fight entered the closing rounds, Bivol tried to break the resistance of Smith Jr, but was troubled by a punch after the bell to end the 10th, and had to settle for a points win after landing a barrage in the closing seconds.

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