Is Bivol Best Light Heavyweight? Smith Wants To Test That



Is Bivol Best Light Heavyweight? Smith Wants To Test That



Is Dmitriy Bivol the best of breed at light heavyweight? Promoter Eddie Hearn, and his adviser Vadim Kornilov and a few other folks who attended the MSG Theater presser to announce Bivol's defense against bomber Joe Smith told the assembled this.

Bivol is best in breed and all be the favorite against Smith…but the Long Islander will have that consummate punchers' chance, was the agreed upon story note from most at the gathering which unfolded at 4:30 PM ET on Saturday.

OK, maybe some of you think Oleksandr Gvozdyk after his smashing of Adonis Stevenson, is the best at 175…or Artur Beterbiev, who jetted from DAZN to latch on to Top Rank's squad, is the A plus plus at light heavy. But Bivol seems to be getting a lotta love from those wondering who is the leader of that pack…

Maurice Hooker showed a confident humility, giving Mikkel LesPierre props, from what he's seen on tape of the Brooklyn-based boxer, who works out at Gleason's Gym. The WBO 135 pound hitter, from Texas, said it will be a fan friendly tango but he's not giving up his belt. Promoter Lou Dibella told us that he signed LesPierre to a longer term deal when he finally figured out that his work ethic is sky high. He knows that Hooker is rock solid but warned us all not to look past Slikk Milk.

Here is video of my querying of Eddie Hearn after he introduced the two main bouts for March 9:

Here is a release from DAZN which offers pithy quotes from the presser:

NEW YORK, Jan. 18, 2019: Days after signing a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA, undefeated WBA World Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol will make his fifth title defense against Joe Smith Jr. on March 9 at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. This card will also feature WBO Super Lightweight titlist Maurice Hooker defending his belt against undefeated challenger Mikkel LesPierre. The fighters gathered at Madison Square Garden this afternoon to discuss the upcoming stacked card, which will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN. 

Joseph Markowski, DAZN EVP of North America

“This has been another big week for DAZN and Matchroom – but more importantly, a big week for fight fans. We came into the market with sizeable promises and making a lot of noise. 

“Week by week, we are demonstrating our ability to follow through. Momentum is building. But it’s not just about March 9 or May 4. It’s about consistently delivering high-quality content. And because we’re not consumed with precious pay-per-view buys, we can deliver solid fight nights leading up to tentpoles instead of just serving up weeks of promo materials that try to convince you that an upcoming match is worth 75 bucks. 

“Andrade today, Munguia next week, the highly-anticipated Bellator clash between Michael “Venom” Page and Paul Daley next month. The schedule keeps getting stronger.

“And we’re not done. More fighters will be signed. More fights will be announced – all available to fans at a low monthly cost, without any B.S. or the pain of pay-per-view.”

Dmitry Bivol 

“I want to say thank you to all of you guys who work with me and help me. I am glad that my team decided the way of my career and the way that we work with DAZN. Thanks to Joe Smith and his team for taking this fight. I think we will make great fight and I will keep my belt.” 

Joe Smith Jr. 

“This is a huge opportunity for me. I am going to take full advantage. I want to thank DAZN and Bivol for giving me this shot. I want to thank everyone who made this fight happen. I have had a lot of ups and downs in my career. Come March 9, I will be 100% and hopefully will be taking that title home with me.” 

Maurice Hooker

“I am ready to fight on March 9. I could fight tonight if I had to. I don’t care who I fight or when I fight. I like to fight. He is a good southpaw, he comes to fight and he is slick. It’s going to be a hell of a fight and I wish him and his team luck.” 

Mikkel LesPierre

“A lot of you may not know who I am. You may not think I am deserving. But come March 9, I will show you that I deserve to be up there with the top fighters. The fact that I have this opportunity to make this change in my life, I am going to do whatever necessary to win. There is nothing more important in a fighter’s career than to fight for a world title. Now I am ready to get to work and show the world what I am capable of.” 

For more information, fans can follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels: @DAZNUSA on Facebook, @DAZN_USA for Twitter, and DAZN_USA for Instagram.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.