Photos: Ed Mulholland
The event’s situation suggested class and exclusivity, a mere 400 or so individuals sitting in the opulent surroundings of the Casino de Monte Carlo to watch a boxing card for which even the ringside photographers had to wear tuxedos. It in theory formed a contrast to the violence that is inherent in boxing, but in dispatching Trent Broadhurst inside one round on Saturday night, Russian light-heavyweight Dmitriy Bivol underlined that he may well possess his own kind of class in the ring, a class that might elevate him to rarefied heights atop his division and perhaps beyond.
Broadhust (20-2, 12 KOs) came into the contest as something of an unknown quantity outside his native Australia. He certainly appeared a more than capable fighter, but the level of his opposition remained suspect, and in Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) he was challenging a significantly higher caliber of foe. The Russian had most recently battered Cedric Agnew into fourth-round submission, and the book on him was that he was likely the real deal, with legitimate quality flowing through his veins. He only added to that reputation with a smooth and seemingly effortless dismissal of Broadhurst.
Broadhurst, to his credit, was game from the outset, exchanging stiff left jabs with Bivol and at one stage, about one-third of the way through the round, landing a decent right cross that certainly caught his opponent’s attention. Shortly afterward, Broadhurst tumbled softly to the canvas after the two men bumped shoulders; referee Howard John Foster oddly called it a knockdown, even though no punch landed, but it was interesting that the Australian did not protest vociferously, and also that thereafter he appeared to be much more circumspect in his offense.
Broadhurst was now clearly on the back foot, even though his guard remained high and his jab frequent. But a fraction of a second before the bell, Bivol uncorked a lead right hand that was the essence of simplicity and perfection: straight and short, it thudded past Broadhurst’s left glove and into his face and crumpled him onto his back near a corner. Foster took one look at the prone Australian, blood flowing across his face from a cut that the right hand had opened on Broadhurst’s nose, and instantly waved the contest to a halt. Once again, there were no evident complaints from the fallen fighter.
Each man threw 35 total punches during the brief contest, according to CompuBox. Broadhurst landed just three, Bivol 12 — although his last was the only one that truly mattered.
“I like the right hand,” Bivol said afterward. “It is very strong. If I can throw a good, strong right hand, I want to develop that further. There’s no limit to how much you can add to that.”
Asked where he ranks himself in the 175 lb. division — a division that, while now shorn of the peerless talent of Andre Ward, still boasts the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Sullivan Barrera, Badou Jack and Artur Beterbiev, — he answered that, “Every fighter should think he is the best, and I hope to be number one pound-for-pound in the world one day. There are many good fighters in the light heavyweight division. We will see who will be the best.”
Every time he enters the ring, he added, “I believe I will be the winner.”
Tougher tests surely await, but on the basis of what we’ve seen so far, it’s hard to take issue with that self-belief.