Once upon a time, Sullivan Barrera told Fightful that Dmitry Bivol did not earn the WBA light heavyweight title. Bivol effectively answered those comments with a knockout win over Barrera at Madison Square Garden.
Bivol dominated Barrera in the opening bout of an HBO boxing telecast from Madison Square Garden, knocking Barrera out in the 12th round to retain the WBA light heavyweight title.
Barrera was overmatched almost from the start of the fight, with Bivol outlanding Barrera nearly four punches to one. Bivol landed 243 of 778 total punches while Barrera only connected 75 of 606 total punches.
Barrera was offered a chance to fight WBO champion Sergey Kovalev instead of Bivol, but issues on agreeing on financial terms were the main reason for the fight not happening. Now that Bivol passed his first real test with flying colors, a potential unification fight with Kovalev could be happening some time in the not too distant future. Bivol didn’t exactly say Kovalev’s name in a post-fight interview, but said he would fight anyone that wants to come challenge for the belt.
“I have to fight the best in the division. It’s not up to me. I don’t choose my opponent. I fight who they put against me. I’m not going to duck anyone in the division. I have a belt, so whoever wants it, come get it,” Bivol said.
Bivol was once the interim WBA light heavyweight champion last year, but after “super” champion Andre Ward and “regular” champion Badou Jack vacated the title to challenge for the WBC title, Bivol was elevated to full champion. Bivol defended his full world title against Trent Broadhurst last year while Barrera fought Felix Valera on HBO’s last Madison Square Garden card.