Dmitry Bivol Gets Passed Craig Richards But Still Lacks Killer Instinct!
WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol is one of the more underrated active fighters in boxing. Even hardcore boxing fans have trouble discussing his successes in debates. This partly due to lack of promotion and his inability to put on astonishing type of performances that force fans to remember his name. Nevertheless, a quick look at his resume shows an undefeated champion who has beaten some credible names. Current WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr, current WBA regular champ Jean Pascal as well as top contender Isaac Chilemba and Sullivan Barrera have all fallen to the skill of Bivol.
Furthermore, it is not like Bivol has not called for fights. He has mentioned wanting fights with unified light heavyweight champ Artur Beterbiev, talked facing former champion Sergey Kovalev and even mentioned a move down to super middleweight to face Canelo Alvarez. Problem is, he just does not have the backing for such callouts to be taken seriously. In addition, being out of the ring since 2019 where he put on a dominant but dull performance against then WBA #15 ranked contender Lenin Castilo doesn’t help his marketability.
His next opponent is against WBA #5 ranked contender, Craig Richards. This British contender is relatively unknown by many boxing fans but brings a puncher’s chance to the fight with a strong right-hand. He only has one loss that came four years ago and has never been stopped. Regardless, Bivol is in desperate need of a huge performance if he wants consideration for a major fight.
HE’S STILL MISSING SOMETHING
Anyone who understands boxing and has seen Bivol fight knows he is highly skilled with a high-level I.Q. His punch placement is excellent and he lands most of his shots with superb accuracy. But he lacks killer instinct. Many times he will hurt his opponent or make them feel uncomfortable in a way where follow up combinations could lead to a knockdown or a stoppage. However, he consistently falls into a routine he rarely strays from to risk finishing an opponent off.
The pro here is he’s always aware of any danger that may come his way and his attack is strategic. The con is fans can get frustrated with continuously watching him go the distance against opponents he should have stopped or beaten impressively.
While Richards’ game-plan to use his height and reach behind the jab caused Bivol to use rounds to adjust, it was obvious the British fighter lacked some of the basics. For example, anytime he threw a jab (which was all the time), he was wide-open for an overhand right. The reason because he never brought his jab hand home. Also, if the champion pushed him on his back-foot, his offense was gone. Furthermore, his defensive ability was not good enough to stop an onslaught from Bivol on his back-foot.
LACKING KILLER INSTINCT
The frustration in watching this fight was it was evident Bivol knew these things about Richards but really didn’t capitalize on them. When the champion got passed the jab, he easily pushed the challenger back with straight right hands. What was missing was the follow up! The lack of killer instinct did not allow the champion to pressure Richards on his back-foot then unleash flurries to get him in trouble.
Instead, Bivol would get the upper-hand then stop, reset and repeat. While he was dominant in doing so, he could have beaten Richards much more decisively, possibly getting a couple of knockdowns if not a knockout if he had focused on putting his opponent on his back-foot then applied more pressure.
The uneventful performance almost cost him the fight! While one judge understood what he was watching with a 118-110 scorecard, the other two scored it 115-113 and 115-114. While all scorecards where in the champion’s favor, the last two were horrendous. Nevertheless, Bivol has himself to partially to blame for almost getting robbed!
It’s strange because in the past, Bivol showed killer instinct. Guys like Cedric Agnew, Samuel Clarkson and Sullivan Barrerea fell victim to this. However, since his last knockout victory over Barrera in 2018, he seems content to coast to victory. While we at 3kingsboxing.com only gave Richards one round, he desperately needs to get a handle on utilizing his tools to dominate opponents in impressive fashion if he hopes to get a significant fight in the future.
By: EJ WIlliams