Dmitry Bivol is coming off the biggest win of his career in dominating Canelo Alvarez toward a unanimous decision back in May.
Now, the undefeated WBA light heavyweight world champion faces another stiff challenge in the form of battering-puncher Gilberto Ramirez (44-0, 30 KOs) who like Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) has never suffered a loss.
The stakes for this 175-pound tilt Saturday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, and live on DAZN, are extremely high. That being said, DAZN lists the keys to victory for Bivol and Ramirez in this pivotal light heavyweight title fight.
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Gilberto Ramirez’s keys to victory
Fight forward in rhythm
Ramirez moves his feet and fights forward in rhythm beautifully. The movement is deliberate yet effective as he has a tendency to draw from his punch portfolio in mixing up his arsenal of rights, lefts and that uppercut to plow opponents down on their back feet. Stalking and fighting in flow gives 'Zurdo' his best shot against Bivol, who prefers to box with space. Rattling the WBA light heavyweight world champion from his position will go long ways toward a possible title change.
With the southpaw having a slight reach advantage, if Ramirez can fight forward in rhythm as he does so well and it’s effective, he can then look to get inside. Locking himself in the phonebooth with Bivol could bait the champion into brawling instead of boxing and any time those sequences spark, it’s up to Ramirez to capitalize with meaningful power shots. With power in both hands, Ramirez is certainly capable of hurting Bivol. It’s more of a matter of demanding the position to do so and seizing his moments.
Make deposits to body, especially with the left hook
Bivol does a solid job of holding the phone in keeping that right hand on his temple to thwart shots upstairs. But in keeping that high guard he’s often susceptible to body shots. As a southpaw, Ramirez must manufacture his own green lights — and sometimes be willing to cross reds — to dig toward Bivol’s body. Canelo had success with hooks to the body but ultimately couldn’t negate Bivol’s jab enough to get the win. 'Zurdo' should look to make these deposits to the body early in effort to force Bivol’s hands down enough to land a damaging shot upstairs. He does that and we can have a new world champion.
Dmitry Bivol's keys to victory
Assert power jab early
Simply said: Dmitry Bivol owns one of the best power jabs in boxing. For anyone who didn’t know prior to May, the Russian showed the world that in his unanimous decision victory over Canelo. Bivol’s power jab is thrown with laser-like accuracy, perforating and deteriorating opponents as the rounds go on. Establishing this weapon early could stifle Ramirez’s forward movement and if that happens, 'Zurdo' could find himself on the verge of being picked apart with technical precision and skills the rest of the way through.
Turn the volume up behind the jab
When Bivol is able to land that jab early, his punches in bunches tend to follow. Pretty soon, his opponents — like Canelo in May — find themselves swarmed and eating too much leather. Ramirez can’t afford to get drowned out like this. Yet, if Bivol connects with that jab early, expect his punch volume to be cranked way up.
Box don’t brawl
Bivol is at his very best boxing from the outside behind that jab and wearing down opponents round after round until his hands are raised on points. His last seven fights being won by unanimous decision corroborates just that. Of course, 'Zurdo' would like nothing more than to bait Bivol into a brawl and although the Russian can oblige at times, it’s in his best interest to rely on his adept sweet science. It’s what allowed him to break down and bully Canelo in the biggest win of his career and it can cap a stellar 2022 if he sticks to the gameplan this weekend.