Dmitry Bivol: ‘Jean Pascal is a very aggressive fighter, I look forward to a real war with him’
The unbeaten Dmitry Bivol will put his WBA light heavyweight title on the line against former champion Jean Pascal at the Mark G. Etess Arena, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on Saturday.
Bivol, who is rated No. 2 by The Ring at 175 pounds, is headlining on HBO for the first time in one of the network’s final boxing shows. Pascal is the biggest name the Russian power-puncher has faced to date.
“He is a very aggressive and exciting fighter, I look forward to a real war with him,” Bivol (14-0, 11 knockouts) told The Ring through Alik Frolov. “He is a very good counterpuncher and very experienced. I think this will be an action-filled fight.”
Following an excellent amateur career, Pascal (33-5-1, 20 knockouts) turned professional in February 2005 and won his first 21 fights before losing a WBC 168-pound title fight to Carl Froch.
However, Pascal had significant success at light heavyweight, winning the vacant WBC belt and The Ring championship with wins over Adrian Diaconu and Chad Dawson respectively. Pascal was eventually dethroned by the legendary Bernard Hopkins, and he also suffered a brace of world title defeats to then-unified champion Sergey Kovalev.
Despite earlier championship success, the challenger has seen better days and is no longer at his athletic peak. In fact, this is likely to be Pascal’s last opportunity to win a world title, although Bivol, 27, refuses to look past him.
“I think he is always very dangerous,” said the defending titleholder who has sparred with Pascal previously. “He has won many fights, even in the last year. When Hopkins fought Pascal, he was 40 and Pascal 28, and that was a very interesting fight.”
Bivol has had an excellent breakthrough year, stopping Sullivan Barrera in the final round in March and outpointing the always awkward Isaac Chilemba in August.
His manager Vadim Kornilov expects his charge to continue to strive toward the summit of the light heavyweight division next year.
“Dmitry always talks about becoming undisputed champion of the light heavyweight division,” said Kornilov. “We look forward to taking the first steps towards that goal in the next year.”
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