‘ShoBox’ results: Dmitry Bivol stops Samuel Clarkson
Friday night’s “ShoBox” card at the new MGM Grand National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland was meant to be WBA interim light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol’s coming out party – and that’s exactly what it was.
Faced with possibly his stiffest challenge to date, so far in his pro career, the Russian came in heavily favored over ShoBox veteran Samuel Clarkson but it seemed like a dangerous fight. Clarkson has sprung numerous upsets throughout his career and is usually an underdog but was riding a nine-fight win streak heading into the bout.
Bivol, holding a 285-15 amateur record, would’ve been a shoe-in for the Russian Olympic team in 2016 but decided to turn pro instead at the end of 2014. Since then, he racked up nine wins heading into the fight with Clarkson, being moved very quickly.
Once the fight began, Clarkson hit the canvas almost immediately. A straight right hand seemed to cause him initial trouble and, shortly afterward, a left hook around the guard forced the Texan to take a knee to regroup. Clarkson was down once more in the round, which was about as one-sided as it gets.
Heading into the second round, Bivol took his time and stayed patient, methodically picking Clarkson apart without expending too much energy. Jabs and hard straight right hands to the head and body had Clarkson backing up to the ropes for most of the fight going into the third round.
The fourth round was going the same way when Clarkson, 19-4 (12), walked into a hard right hand and hit the deck. He made it to his feet but immediately staggered sideways on wobbly legs and the fight was rightfully halted by referee Harvey Dock.
Bivol improves to 10-0 (8) and, heading into the bout, was already the mandatory for WBA “regular” light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly. That is a fight the Russian’s team would most definitely like to pursue soon.
Also of importance was the exposure he received in making his debut on American television. He had previously fought twice stateside while the rest of his fights were hosted in Russia.
In the welterweight co-main event of the evening, Baltimore’s own Malik Hawkins made quick work of an outgunned Carlos Soto. Hawkins, a stablemate of IBF junior lightweight titlist Gervonta Davis, was originally scheduled to fight Taras Shelestyuk before the Ukrainian was forced to pull out due to injury. Soto was a significant downgrade in opposition but the fight served more as a showcase instead of a trial by fire.
Hawkins opened up in the first round, with Soto occasionally throwing back until near the end of the round, when the Mexican’s eye began to swell grotesquely, forcing the ringside doctor to be called in to inspect the injury. Although he was allowed to continue on, Soto immediately took a knee in the corner after right before the bell sounded to end the round.
In the second round, Soto, 13-1-2 (7), absorbed punishment from the 21-year-old Hawkins, who was very eager to get the job done, putting full power into a wide array of punches upstairs. It was a one-sided round and, after the one-minute rest period, the doctor was called in to once again inspect Soto’s eye. Soto indicated he couldn’t see and the fight was waved off, giving Hawkins a technical knockout victory and moving him to 11-0 (8).
Opening up the show was probably the best fight of the night as Leroy Davila, 5-1 (3), and hometown fighter Glenn Dezurn, 9-0 (6), exchanged punches constantly for a large portion of their junior featherweight contest. Davila, the smaller man, seemed to get the better of the first few rounds but slowly felt the superior size of his opponent creep in as Dezurn started walking him down and touching him to the head and body.
Instead of moving like he did early on, Davila began to stand and fight and that continued for the duration. The two kept trading shots and a dogfight broke out in the eighth round. First, Dezurn appeared to be hurt by a body shot, followed by Davila pouring it on. Then the momentum changed and Dezurn, fighting on pure adrenaline, started chirping his opponent while throwing everything into every shot, including a big left hook that turned the tide.
Despite what appeared to be a very close fight, the final verdict was a unanimous decision for Dezurn, with all three judges giving him scores of 78-74.
A number of prospects were in action further down the bill. Heavyweight Sergey Kuzmin, 10-0 (7), a stablemate of Bivol’s, forced the ringside doctor to step in and stop Keenan Hickman, 5-2-1 (2), at the end of the third round. Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing Promotions prospects Ruben Villa, 5-0 (3), and Michael Dutchover, 4-0 (4), were both victorious, with a unanimous decision win for Villa over Luis Diaz Torres, 2-1 (1), and a third round stoppage win over Eder Amaro Fajardo, 2-3-1 (1). The main attraction on the untelevised portion was Hasim Rahman Jr., who quickly knocked Ralph Alexander out in the first round. Both fighters made their professional debuts on the card.
You can follow Rian Scalia on Twitter @rian5ca.