Bivol signs with Matchroom Boxing; Bivol-Smith to happen in March

Dmitry Bivol and World of Boxing have signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA and the Russian will defend his WBA World Light-Heavyweight title against Joe Smith Jr live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK in March.

Bivol makes the fifth defense of his belt against Smith Jr after moving to 15-0 (11KOs) in November, with a comprehensive to a points win over former unified champion Jean Pascal in New Jersey. Bivol’s win over the Canadian was the latest impressive name on his growing CV, following a points triumph over Isaac Chilemba, a final round stoppage of Sullivan Barrera and a highlight real first round KO of Trent Broadhurst.

The Russian star will meet a stern test of his ambitions to unify the division in the shape of Smith Jr. (24-2 20KOs) the Long Islander who famously stopped Bernard Hopkins in the Philadelphia legend’s last pro fight in December 2016 and destroyed Andrzej Fonfara inside the opening round of their clash in Chicago six months earlier.

Eddie Hearn presents Bivol vs. Smith Jr in association with World of Boxing, Star Boxing and Main Events – and both fighters and their teams predict fireworks when the pair clash in March, with the date and venue to be confirmed at a press conference in New York this Friday.

“I am glad to finally meet Joe in the ring,” said Bivol. “I saw his fights against Fonfara and Hopkins live and always wanted to test my skills against him! Thank you to World of Boxing, Matchroom Boxing USA, and DAZN – I hope to put a great performance for everybody!

“Very happy to be working with Eddie Hearn, it’s a pleasure!” said World of Boxing’s Andrei Ryabinskiy. “We look forward to a great event together with Matchroom and DAZN.”

“Bivol was supposed to fight Joe back in November, it’s a very exciting fight,” said Bivol’s manager Vadim Kornilov. “Both Dmitry and Joe have a lot of power. I guess this fight was meant to happen and we look forward to a building relationship with Eddie Hearn and DAZN!”

“I am very excited for the opportunity to fight Bivol for the World championship,” said Smith Jr. “Everything I’ve worked for in and out of the gym was to better myself and become a World Champion. All the hard work and my determination will pay off come fight night.”

“Joe Smith Jr. is one of the hardest punching fighters out there,” said Smith’s promoter Joe DeGuardia. “His exciting style and humble background has made him a real fan favorite. I am pleased he will be getting this opportunity to fight for the World Championship. Joe has been anxiously waiting for this opportunity and I look forward the fight.”

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

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TJ Doheny signs with Matchroom Boxing

TJ Doheny has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA and will make the first defense of his IBF World Super-Bantamweight title at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on Friday January 18, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Doheny landed the IBF strap in stunning fashion in Japan in August, ripping it from defending champion Ryosuke Iwasa in Tokyo, moving to 20-0 (14KOs) in the process.

The Irishman will now look to solidify his status as a World champion in the Big Apple against an opponent to be announced soon, and then look to unify the division in 2019 – with a fight against WBA ruler and fellow DAZN fighter Daniel Roman a target.

“I am absolutely ecstatic to be joining the principal team in professional boxing today,” said Doheny.

“I believe with Matchroom Boxing and my management team at MTK Global I have the perfect blend to help me achieve my ultimate goals in the sport of boxing.

“I am really excited to getting the ball rolling with my first defense on January 18 at Madison Square Garden. This fight will give me the momentum I need going into really big year.”

“I’m delighted to welcome TJ to the team,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “TJ is always in great fights and he is coming off a huge win in Japan to capture the title.

“He will make the first defense of his title at Madison Square Garden on Jan 18 and if he comes through will attempt to unify the division against WBA champ Danny Roman in the spring. There are some great fights to be made at 122lbs and we expect to see all of them on DAZN.”

Doheny’s World title defense is part of a huge night of action in New York as Demetrius Andrade defends his WBO World Middleweight title for the first time against Russian Artur Akavov.

A third World title bout on the card sees Amanda Serrano (35-1-1 26KOs) gunning for history as she looks to land World honors in an extraordinary seventh weight class as she meets WBC and IBF World Super-Flyweight champion Eva Voraberger (24-5 11KOs) – the Austrian tasked with stopping Serrano’s bid for glory.

Former World Lightweight ruler Jorge Linares continues his comeback trail on the card when he meets Pablo Cesar Cano. Linares’ (45-4 28KOs) reign as WBA and Ring Magazine champion was ended in an epic clash with pound-for-pound star Vasily Lomachenko at Madison Square Garden in May, with Linares felling the Ukrainian star in the sixth before being stopped four rounds later.

Linares returned to winning ways in September with a third round stoppage win over Abner Cotto in September in California and starts 2019 with his 50th pro fight against Cano (31-7-1 21KOs), the Mexican former World title challenger who landed the WBC International Silver strap in his last outing in September – and Linares is joined by fellow Golden Boy Boxing star Alexis Rocha (12-0 8KOs), the 21 year old Welterweight talent ready to begin his charge for titles in 2019.

One of Matchroom Boxing USA’s rising stars tastes his first action in 2019 on the card as Reshat Mati (2-0 1KO) returns to the scene of his last outing in October where the ‘Albanian Bear’ went the four round distance in his second fight.

Tickets for January 18 are on sale now priced from $46 (including booking fee) – tickets are available from www.MSG.com

Photo: Matchroom Boxing