Dmitry Bivol dominates, outclasses Gilberto Ramirez, retains WBA 175-pound title

ABU DHABI — Domination.

Dmitry Bivol soundly outboxed Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez and retained his WBA light heavyweight championship on Saturday via a one-sided unanimous decision at Etihad Arena.

The judges scored the fight 117-111 twice and 118-110 in favor of the unbeaten Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs). LegendzTV had it 120-108, a shutout, for Bivol.

Ramirez (44-1, 30 KOs), a former super middleweight titleholder, was facing an elite opponent for the first time and was completely out of his league.

The two-inch height and three-inch reach advantages didn’t matter. Bivol was quicker, faster, and seemed to hit Zurdo at will. The only thing that kept Ramirez on his feet was his chin. He was hurt roughly four times during the bout and got rocked in the 12th round by a wad of combinations.

“You know, the lion is not the biggest animal in the jungle,” Bivol said. “But he is the king. Yes, he was bigger than me. But it didn’t matter.”

Ramirez has received a lot of backlash for his lackluster opposition over the years, but it’s not entirely his fault. He defeated Arthur Abraham by unanimous decision in April 2016 to win the WBO 168-pound title and made five defenses of the belt before moving up to light heavyweight in 2019. However, 168-pounds has not been an incredibly deep weight class in quite some time dating back to the days of Andre Ward, Carl Froch, and Joe Calzaghe.

But as NYFights predicted earlier this week, this was a stylistic nightmare from the get-go. This was a complete fighter vs. a good offensive technician that performs well when he’s in control of the rhythm and the pace. Bivol was the ocean and Zurdo was the log for the entirety of the action.

Bivol backed up Ramirez for most of the fight behind an educated jab, one of boxing’s best, and let his hands go with combinations that Ramirez wasn’t able to avoid or counter. Somehow, Zurdo thought he won the fight.

“I think I did enough,” he told DAZN’s Chris Mannix.

Bivol looked every bit the part of the man that dominated Canelo Alvarez in May and likely locked up Fighter of the Year honors, to boot, with another scintillating performance.

According to Compubox, Bivol landed 131 of 543 punches (20 percent) and Ramirez connected on just 107 of 878 punches (12 percent). This would mean Ramirez missed 88 percent of his thrown punches.

The 31-year-old Bivol, a Kyrgyzstan native based in St. Petersburg, Russia, wants to face unified champion Artur Beterbiev next for the undisputed championship. However, Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs), who is also Russian, must first deal with Anthony Yarde in a mandatory defense of his WBO title. The 37-year-old Beterbiev also holds the WBC/IBF titles.

Bivol could rematch Alvarez, who had left wrist surgery earlier in the week, but the Mexican is likely out until the fall following the operation. Alvarez has a contractual right to an immediate rematch if exercised.

But although Canelo got outclassed, he still won more rounds than Ramirez, who is a natural light heavyweight. Overall, Alvarez has won world titles in four weight classes: junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight, and light heavyweight.

Some people still doubted Bivol coming into this fight, crazily enough. Those roars have now come to a screeching halt, other than the few oddballs on social media.

Bivol has proven once again that he is one of the elite pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, and his combination of skills will be a tall order for anyone.

In the chief support, Chantelle Cameron dominated Jessica McCaskill over 10 rounds to become the undisputed junior welterweight champion.

The judges scored it 97-93, 96-94 and 96-94 in favor of the undefeated Cameron (16-0, 8 KOs), who defended her WBC/IBF titles and added the vacant WBA and WBO belts to her collection.

McCaskill (12-2, 5 KOs), the undisputed queen at 147-pounds, moved down in weight in her quest to become a two-division undisputed champion. But unlike Claressa Shields, she was unable to pull the trigger. Cameron was prepared for McCaskill’s aggressive, bull rush approach, utilizing her jab to keep her adversary at bay. A clash of heads produced a knot outside of the left eye of McCaskill, who struggled to keep maintain pace with Cameron.

On the undercard, unbeaten 130-pounder Shavkat Rakhimov (17-0-1, 13 KOs) scored a come-from-behind ninth-round KO of Zelfa Barrett (28-2, 16 KOs) to win the vacant IBF junior lightweight title. Barrett dropped Rakhimov in round three with an uppercut and appeared on his way toward claiming the belt, but Rakhimov came alive in round nine and dropped an exhausted Barrent twice in the frame to end it. The time of the KO was 2:35.

Galal Yafai (3-0, 2 KOs) remained unbeaten with a 10-round split decision over Gohan Rodriguez (12-2-1, 1 KO) in a flyweight bout. Former junior bantamweight titlist Kal Yafai (27-1, 15 KOs) recovered from an opening round knockdown to outpoint Jerald Paclar (16-6-3, 9 KOs) over 10 rounds.

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