Bivol vs Smith, Hooker vs LesPierre, Johnson vs Monaghan – live on DAZN in the US tonight
DMITRY BIVOL and JOE SMITH JR. met for one final time today at the DREAM HOTEL in NYC at the final presser ahead of Saturday night’s WBA World Light Heavyweight Championship bout at Turning Stone Resort Casino to be aired LIVE on DAZN.
Smith Jr (24-2 20KOs) fights for a first time for the World title and will be full of confidence going into the bout, with his last four wins coming by impressive KO’s, including a first round demolition of Poland’s Andrzej Fonfara in Chicago and sending modern-great Bernard Hopkins into retirement.
Bivol (15-0 11 KOs) defends his title for the fifth time against the Long Island man and is hoping Smith Jr comes for a war – and the 29 year old challenger promises to bring everything he’s got to a night he’s been waiting for his entire life.
Joe Smith, Jr.
“I would like to thank everybody who put this fight together. I would like to thank especially Team Bivol for giving me this fight. It is a great opportunity and I would like to thank Bivol for offering it to me. I put everything I had into this training camp, I worked real hard and I’m looking forward to this Saturday to put on a great show for everybody. This is what every fighter dreams of – a shot at a world title and this is my shot. The work has been put in over the years and I’m going to put it all together this Saturday and give you a great show and become the next champion and I’m going to go home with the belt and share it with my whole town and with my family and with everyone who helped me get into this position.
Hello everybody and thanks for coming. I don’t want to talk to much because I don’t know as many jokes as Eddie Hearn. I want to thank all of my team who helped me in my training camp – all of my sparring partners and thanks to my promoters – Eddie Hearn, Andrey Rabinsky and Kathy Duva. Thank you to everyone who have helped my in my whole career and I am ready to fight and I hope Joe is ready to and we will make a great fight and don’t miss it.
Joe smith is a good boxer, he is young and he throws a lot of punches – it is a good match for both of us. I gain experience in every fight I have had and I will gain experience because of his style in this fight also. He has good power but it is not his best quality – he has good speed and good combinations.
I have watched many of Joe’s fights and he has good power. He tries to push his opponents to the ropes and beat them there.
Of course my style can help me to win and of course if I do everything which I did in my training camp I will win.
I want to show my skills to the boxing fans, it doesn’t matter to me where I fight. I have had a lot of fights in other countries and other cities – I just need the ring and the opponent in the ring.
I think Joe will move forward a lot and use his jab a lot and try to land his right hand.
I fight every fight like it is my last fight.
There was talk of Canelo moving up…”Of course that is great when other great fighters move to our division – it is good for all light heavyweight boxers. But I don’t need any more motivation than my belt. My belt and my family is the motivation for me.”
On Bernard getting knocked out of the ring… “How old was Bernard? I really respect Bernard Hopkins but he wasn’t in his best shape when he fought against Joe Smith. I watched a lot of Bernard Hopkins’ fights and I learned a lot from him.”
Of course I can say that our sport is very dangerous but my father worked as a bus driver and that is dangerous also. Many people die in bus crashes.
Would you want to fight Andre Ward if he came out of retirement? “Why not? He was one of the best light heavyweights and I want to make great fights. Right now I am in my best shape and my best years so I need to make the best fights. If Andre Ward wants to come and make a fight with me I will be glad to, of course.”
I can make 168 for big fights. Not any fight but for big fights. It opens more opportunies for me that I can make 168.
I want to fight any champion at 175 – from Brown to Badou Jack – but it is tough to pick an opponent because right now all I am thinking of is Saturday night.
I know that Kovalev has great boxing skills but he had to put thos skills together in the ring. It wasn’t just tactical but he showed us that he can put it together.
(In the next couple days) I will just keep my shape and keep positive emotions. I will talk with my coach and my mangers and tell a lot of jokes and relax.
I just like to fight. I like training and I like to be in the ring. It is not enough to have just power and have just speed or technical. You have to have some of everything. I don’t have the hardest punch and I am not the quickest, but it is complete.
When I get in the ring for a fight I feel like I am living and I feel excited and after the victory it is great.
We saw a lot of movies with Jackie Chan when I was younger and I wanted to fight like him. My father took me to the karate section then he took me to the boxing section for more competition
Dmitry Bivol Monday Conversation
I have watched a few of Joe Smith’s fights. I watched the Fonfara fight, the Barrera fight and the Hopkins fight. I can say that he is a strong fighter, a strong guy and he has a strong right hand and he moves forward. He is a good opponent for me and I think I can get a lot of experience from fighting him.
He tries to be more aggressive and he’ll try to push you and be aggressive and I will be smarter and outbox him. He uses his strength. I use my intelligence.
What did you think when Smith knocker Hopkins out of the ring?
It can happen to anybody. He did catch him. Bernard was next to the ropes and he got hit and he fell out. Sometimes it happens..
When you turned professional, did you think you’d be a champion in so few fights?
Of course we weren’t sure, but we had plans when I turned pro to become a champion quicker and of course I am glad that the plans were realized and that we could make it happen.
Now I want to fight the other champions to get more belts. I want fans to know more about me and for more people to watch my fights.
I have been learning English by watching TV and I took some lessons from a teacher and I have a couple of apps in my phone.
When I started boxing I loved Mike Tyson, then I watched a lot of Roy Jones Jr. fights and then I watch fights with Sugar Ray Leonard – I like how he used his legs in the ring and I like his style – he moves a lot and he threw punches easy, he looked like he threw punches easy but they landed hard.
And Pernell Whitaker was a very interesting fighter and one of the best fighters that I watched. I liked him because he always looked like he had fun in the ring. He was very light in the ring and he was very positive like it was a holiday. Like he was enjoying it, and I liked that very much.
I don’t know what will happen in the ring, only God knows. I had a great training camp and I had great sparring partners. I am ready to fight and I only believe I in my victory – I can say only that.
Dmitry Bivol knows that Joe Smith Jr. is coming to rip his title away from him – and the WBA World Light-Heavyweight king says that will make for a great fight when he defends his belt at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY on Saturday March 9, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Bivol (15-0 11 KOs) puts his strap on the line for the fifth time and it’s been smooth sailing since he destroyed Trent Broadhurst inside a round in his first defense in November 2017.
The Russian has put Sullivan Barrera, Isaac Chilemba and Jean Pascal to the sword since that win in Monaco, and now the hard-hitting Russian goes head to head with Smith Jr (24-2 20KOs).
The Long Island man fights for his first World title against Bivol, and the 29 year old has vowed to pour everything out of himself to land the crown – and the defending champ believes that their styles will gel for a great clash.
“He’s a strong guy,” said Bivol. “I saw his fight against Bernard Hopkins, and he’s really strong. He has the same age like me, he’s young. But he has some minus points like many fighters that I will use to my advantage for my win. He moves forward a lot. This is a good challenge for me, to stop him.
“I saw in his eyes when I met him, he wanted my belt. And I’m glad, because only that way it can make a good fight.
“We are both of different styles. When two guys meet in the ring with different styles in boxing, it usually makes a good fight. I think it will be a good fight for boxing fans.
“To be honest, I don’t think about the belt. I just think about who my opponent is, and what he can show me in the ring. All I think about is how I should beat him. In my sight, I feel like I should just beat him. Of course, the belt is good for history, but I only think about my opponent.”
Bivol’s clash with Smith Jr. is part of a huge night of action at Turning Stone Resort Casino with a second mouthwatering World title fight on the bill in the shape of Maurice Hooker (25-0-3 17 KOs) defending his WBO World Super-Lightweight title against Brooklyn’s Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1 10KOs).
Callum Johnson (17-1-0 12KOs) and Sean Monaghan (29-2-0 17KOs) will both have a keen eye on Bivol’s clash as they battle in a crunch fight in the 175lbs division, World-ranked heavyweight contender Sergey Kuzmin, (14-0 11 KOs), of St. Petersburg, Russia will battle Philadelphia based veteran Joey Dawejko, (19-6-4 11 KOs) and Otha Jones III makes his pro debut on the card.
RUNNING ORDER FOR TURNING STONE
6.30pm 4 x 3 mins Middleweight Contest
Nikita Ababiy 162lbs v Cory Dulaney 160lbs
Brooklyn, New York Whitehall, Ohio
6 x 3 mins Super-Lightweight Contest
Otha Jones III 132 1/2lbs v Giorgi Gelashvili 134 1/4lbs
Toledo, Ohio Brooklyn, New York
7.45pm 10 x 3 mins WBA Inter-Continental Super-Welterweight Championship
Israil Madrimov 151 1/2lbs v Frank Rojas 152 1/2lbs
Indio, California Caracas, Venezuela
8.30pm 10 x 3 mins WBA Inter-Continental Heavyweight Championship
Sergiy Kuzmin 248 1/2lbs v Joey Dawejko 250lbs
St. Petersburg, Russia Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
WORLD FEED 9:00 PM
10 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight Contest
Callum Johnson 173lbs v Sean Monaghan 174lbs
Boston, England Long Beach, New York
10pm 12 x 3 mins WBO World Super-Lightweight Championship
Maurice Hooker 140lbs* v Mikkel LesPierre 138 3/4lbs
Dallas, Texas New York, New York
*Hooker initially weighed 140 1/2lbs
11pm 12 x 3 mins WBA World Light-Heavyweight Championship
Dmitry Bivol 173 1/2lbs v Joe Smith Jr. 173lbs
Saint Petersburg, Russia Long Island, New York
FLOAT 8 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight Contest
Junior Younan 171.5lbs v Derrek Findley 172lbs
Brooklyn, New York Merrillville, Indiana
Former amateur standout Israil ‘The Dream’ Madrimov, (1-0, 1KO), of Uzbekistan will face heavy-handed Venezuelan Frank ‘The Rooster’ Rojas, (24-2-0, 23 KOs) in a scheduled ten-round super welterweight clash this Saturday, March 9 at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York and live on DAZN in the US (7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT) and on Sky Sports in the UK. The bout will be contested for Madrimov’s WBA Inter-Continental Super Welterweight Title.
Madrimov vs. Rojas presented by Matchroom Boxing USA in association with World of Boxing is a featured bout on the undercard to the World Title Double-Header between WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol, (15-0, 11 KOs), and challenger Joe Smith Jr., (24-2, 20 KOs) in addition to the WBO Super Lightweight World Title clash between Champion Maurice Hooker, (25-0-3, 17 KOs), and challenger Mikkel LesPierre, (21-0-1, 10 KOs).
Madrimov made history in his pro debut on November 24, 2018 which was uniquely scheduled for an unprecedented ten-rounds. The 24-year-old Madrimov knocked out Vladimir Hernandez in the sixth round of their battle in Atlantic City, New Jersey earning the WBA Inter-Continental Super Welterweight Title. Hernandez was a very tough test for the pro debut, having previously twice beaten top undefeated prospect Danny Valdivia (14-0), in his direct bouts prior to facing Madrimov.
Prior to turning professional Madrimov was the Gold Medal winner at the 2018 and 2017 Asian Games capping an extraordinary amateur career. Capable of fighting aggressively in the orthodox or southpaw stance, Madrimov thrilled the crowd in Atlantic City with his all-action style and capped his pro debut victory with a spectacular, high-flying backflip.
Said Madrimov, “I’m very excited to get back in the ring this Saturday and grateful to World of Boxing and my team for this opportunity. I can’t wait to put on a show for the fans.”
“Israil is a very special talent, people questioned putting him in a ten-round bout in his pro debut but he proved that he’s ready,” said Andrei Ryabinsky, head of World of Boxing. “We look forward to his fight on Saturday night and his continued march to a world title.”
Madrimov is guided by the noted manager, Vadim Kornilov. “We have very big plans for Israil, he’s going to be ready to fight for a world title in the near future. Saturday’s fight will air on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK and I’m excited to let fans and media see Israil in action. He’s the perfect complement to Dmitry Bivol’s world title challenge against Joe Smith Jr.”
Rojas has fought once previously in the United States challenging former world title challenger Jose Benavidez Jr. He is coming off a fourth-round knockout of Kervin Arambulet on December 22, 2018 in Venezuela.