Dmitry Bivol looks pedestrian but still wants the bigger fights!
Under the hot lights of Chicago’s Wintrust Arena, WBA world light heavyweight champion Demitry Bivol (17-0, 15 KO’s) successfully defended his title.
The less than stellar outing marks Bivol’s fifth defense since being elevated to the full WBA light heavyweight champion. In the end, his opponent Lenin Castillo (20-2-1, 16 KO’s) simply was not there to win.
Sadly for the audience at hand, the champion was content to wage an overtly safety first type of fight.
The first four rounds were largely carbon copies of themselves. Bivol consistently used feints and a steady jab to press into punching range.
Castillo responded with covering up and occasional counter-punches. Neither man was truly hurting the other, but each was satisfied to maintain the course.
Bivol’s economic and tame manner of attack was not lighting the world on fire. However, Castillo simply was not active enough to warrant winning the rounds.
In the fifth period, the two fighters finally started heating up. They both began throwing hard shots with malevolent intentions. It felt as if the fight was kicking into the next gear.
In the seventh and following round, Bivol sets his emboldened foe down. Castillo would get up smirking from the flush straight-right to the chin that tossed him into the ropes. To his credit, he finished the period well by openly trading shots with Bivol down the stretch.
For the next couple of rounds, Castillo falls back into his low-output counter-punching mode. Bivol presses and wins on activity.
In the ninth, Castillo fought like he finally had woken up. When the WBA champion opened with an impressive combination to the head and body, Castillo responded with a nice counter-left hook.
During this period, Castillo demonstrated that when he engaged with fire, they were not that unevenly matched.
Sadly, Castillo would not fight with the same grit again. He left a lot on the table in the final rounds of the bout and appeared to be happy to simply make the final bell.
To his surprise, Bivol was strongly boo’ed at the onset of his in ring post-fight interview. Regardless, he still maintained his want for a unification bout!
By: Bakari Simpson