New Faces: Dmitry Bivol
Hometown: St. Petersburg, Russia
Weight class: Light heavyweight
Height: 6-foot-0 (183 cm)
Amateur record: 268-15
Turned pro: 2014
Pro record: 5-0, 5 knockouts
Trainer(s): Gennady Mashianov
Manager: Vadim Kornilov
Promoter: World of Boxing
Best night of pro career: Bivol has won all five fights to date inside the distance and is pleased with his progress.
“From fight to fight, I’m getting better,” Bivol told RingTV.com through Janna Popova. “Each fight was good, each fight was better and better.”
Worst night of pro career: Although the Russian-based Kyrgyzstan-born fighter has impressed to date, he is least pleased with his debut when he met Jorge Rodriguez Olivera on the undercard of Ruslan Provodnikov-Jose Luis Castillo in the fall of 2014.
“Maybe my first fight,” he said. “I could do better but it was only my first fight, it was a big show, maybe I was a little nervous. I’m pretty happy with all the fights since.”
Next fight: Bivol faces Cleiton Conceicao on Thursday at The Hangar in Costa Mesa, California, in a fight scheduled for 10 rounds.
The 36-year-old Brazilian enters the ring with a record of 22-8-2 (18). He has lost the last five times he has fought outside his homeland. Last time out he was stopped in three rounds by fellow prospect Oleksandr Gvozdyk. In May Conceicao went 10 rounds with Sean Monaghan. Bivol will likely target an inside the distance win to continue his perfect start so far in the pros.
Why he’s a prospect: Although Bivol had close to 300 amateur fights he was unable to fight at the Olympics or world championships because he was Russia’s No. 2 behind current stablemate Egor Mekhontsev.
He lost in the semi-final of the 2010 world youth championships to eventual winner Rey Recio of Cuba. In 2008 he won the world combat games.
He represented “Russian Boxing Team” in the semi-pro World Series of Boxing before making the transition to the pros.
“It was time for me to go further and professional boxing is what people watch on TV,” he explained. “You can make your name in boxing, fighting in America.
“Vadim Kornilov is my manager, he can organize good shows here, good fights here. We want to box in the future in America.”
Since making the move Bivol has sparred with Mekhontsev, Jean Pascal and Yvacheslav Shabranskyy.
He considers his biggest strength to be the speed of his punches.
Bivol is level-headed and prefers not to get caught up in the hyperbole of the sport interms of how far he may be from the upper echelons of the deep 175-pound division, leaving that in the capable hands of his handlers.
“To be honest, I don’t think about it, it’s more what my promoter and Vadim thinks about it,” he said humbly. “I’ll do my job training and working hard and let them decide.”
Kornilov, feels a title shot is within Bivol’s capabilities this year.
Why he’s a suspect: With Bivol’s amateur grounding he’s seen most things that can be thrown his way so it’s just a matter of getting used to his new environment and polishing up his skills.
There are still questions about his ability to take a punch and his stamina. He has wisely aligned himself with knowledgably people that have matched him competitively. All five of his opponents had winning records, going a combined 99-38-3.
“I think I need to improve everything little by little,” he said when asked in what areas he needs to improve. “To become a champion you need to work hard and do better and better and of course you need to improve. I need more practice. I need more fights.”
Story lines: Bivol, who took up boxing at age 6, grew up in Tokmak, Kyrgyzstan, the middle child of three. He enjoyed a normal childhood before moving to Russia when he was 11.
Bivol lives in St. Petersburg, Russia with his wife and one-year-old son but has de-camped to Los Angeles for his last two fights.
The heavy-handed puncher who’s learning English says Sergey Kovalev is the best light heavyweight in the world.
“I want to be the world champion,” he said. “I don’t want to be like Kovalev, I want to be by myself, I want to be me, Dmitry Bivol, I want all titles, I want to be a champion, like all fighters who respect themselves. I like Kovalev, as a person, as a boxer, as a fighter.”
He lists his boxing heroes as Sugar Ray Leonard and Roy Jones Jr.
Away from boxing he likes to spend time with his family, before that he liked to play Hockey.
Nov. 28 – Jorge Rodriguez Olivera – TKO 6
April 10 – Konstantin Piternov – TKO 3
May 22 – Joey Vegas – KO 4
Aug. 27 – Felipe Romero – KO 8
Nov. 4 – Jackson Junior – TKO 4
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright