Dmitry Bivol fends off defiant Craig Richards, eyes undisputed fight

Mark Robinson

Dmitry Bivol retained his WBA light-heavyweight world title via a unanimous decision despite a spirited performance from South Londoner Craig Richards.

The unbeaten Russian is recognized as one of the finest fighters in the 175lbs division. But he was made to work for victory over ‘Spider’ Richards with scores of 118-110, 115-113, 115-114.

After an extended time away from the sport, Bivol revealed his plans to face another champion in the category.

“I’m not happy, but I’m okay,” Bivol told Matchroom. “It was a long rest for me, and I went into the ring after one and a half years.

“It’s okay. My opponent was a good fighter, really good. He’s smart, and he thinks. He was thinking for the whole fight.

“It’s okay. I felt that I’d won. I gave him a couple of rounds for recovery. I landed more clean punches.

“I respect him, and I respected him before the fight. I think he can make problems for all fighters because of his style.

“He moved a lot. Fighters who move a lot and have good speed are really hard. He is a good fighter, but I have more weapons in my arsenal.

Dmitry Bivol
Mark Robinson


“I’m glad I have had another defense. Of course, I want unification fights. I still like them. I haven’t had a chance to fight for another belt. This is why I defend my belt.

“I’d like to fight for another belt. It would be a good challenge for me. I believe I can become the Undisputed World Champion one day. This is why I train. That’s why I have a good team.

“I believe one day I will be if I train hard. Thanks to everyone who supported me and watched this fight.”

Bivol has options in Joe Smith Jr. and Artur Beterbiev moving forward.