Almost hidden in the middle of suburbia Dmitry Bivol quietly toiled away working on his craft like a master violinist preparing for a concerto. Every note perfected.
There’s a quiet dignity about Bivol.
The performance begins today for WBA light heavyweight titlist Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) as he faces Cuba’s Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in New York City. HBO will televise.
It’s no easy task awaiting the Russian light heavyweight, who systematically dismantled Trent Broadhurst last November piece by piece like violinist Jascha Heifetz attacking a Franz Liszt composition in nearby Carnegie Hall during the 1940s.
Cubans are known to march to their own peculiar and melodic beats. Their music and style are so completely unique that the term Afro-Cuban music was developed to differentiate them from other sounds. Like their music, their fighting style also differs from others.
Bivol knows this quite well.
“I have fought many Cubans over the years,” said Bivol, 27, who had an extensive amateur career. “They are always very fast and also very strong.”
Cuba’s Barrera also has extensive experience fighting Russians and others from the former Soviet countries as an amateur. A little over a year ago he mystified Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Shabranskyy after suffering a knockdown early in the fight. He then proceeded to batter the undefeated fighter for a technical knockout win.
Bivol expects this to be the toughest competition he’s faced as a professional.
The light heavyweight champion prepared incessantly inside Legendz Boxing, the less-than-a-year-old gym in the city of Norwalk, California. It’s a large town of about 106,000 people located in between three freeways southeast of Los Angeles. Norwalk is known in the past for car dealerships; the gym is actually a converted car lot that has seen car ports changed into boxing ring portals in its two acre property.
Ironically, Shabranskyy formerly trained there for a short while.
Bivol sparred with many top contenders in the open air gym and day after day perfected every nuance in his skill set. On one day he sparred lightning fast boxers and on another he exchanged blows with large cruiserweights like Lateef “Power” Kayode. All of the time Bivol was composed and calculating.
If you saw Bivol’s last performance, one of his main traits is patience and precision. Every blow has a reason and every blow has been practiced over and over like a sophisticated violin piece by Bartok.
But can he put this practice to the real test against the Cuban rhythms of Barrera?
“I’m very excited to be fighting on HBO,” said Bivol. “I’m also very excited to fight in New York City. It has been a dream of mine.”
Tonight comes the real concerto.
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