Dmitry Bivol retained his WBA light heavyweight title with a unanimous decision victory, despite a fiery display from British challenger Craig Richards.
The undefeated Russian is recognized as one of the top fighters in the 175-pound division, but he was forced to work for the win over ‘Spider’ Richards with scores of 118-110, 115-113, 115-114 at Manchester.
Taking a step forward, Bivol quickly found his range in the first round, catching Richards with cleverly disguised hooks.
Sky Customers: Buy Chisora vs Parker
Non-Sky Customers: Buy Chisora vs Parker
Bivol turned up the heat, firing some fierce shots in the second, but Richards responded with a stiff right hand in the third.
A looping left hand caught up with Richards early in the fourth round, although South London traded right hands with Bivol in a lively fifth.
Richards unloaded a snappy left hook in the sixth, then Bivol upshifted, spitting out a scathing combination in the seventh.
All of Richards’ attempts to take the lead were beaten back by Bivol, who slapped in a right hand in the eighth, and jerks in the ninth.
Showing more urgency, Richards finally forced Bivol back with a straight right hand in the 10th.
Richards desperately searched for a fight-changing punch, hitting body shots in the 11th, but Bivol withstood a fiery late assault to seal the victory on the scorecards.
Earlier in the evening, Johnny Fisher stopped Phil Williams in the third round with a barrage of punches.
“The Romford Bull” gave another display of raw power, forcing the referee to step in after a sustained assault.
Watch Chisora v Parker and Taylor v Jonas on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Non-Sky TV subscribers can book and watch here.