Boxing-Bivol stops Zinad to retain WBA light-heavyweight title, Beterbiev next

  • Boxing
  • Sunday, 02 Jun 2024

Boxing - Dmitry Bivol v Malik Zinad - Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - June 2, 2024 Dmitry Bivol celebrates after winning his fight against Malik Zinad REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

RIYADH (Reuters) - Russia's Dmitry Bivol retained his WBA light-heavyweight world title on Sunday after stopping Libyan challenger Malik Zinad in the sixth round in Riyadh.

British referee Howard Foster stepped in two minutes and six seconds into the round to stop the contest as the unbeaten Bivol, his record now 23-0 with 12 knockouts, pounded his cornered opponent on the ropes.

Zinad was a late replacement for IBF, WBC and WBO champion Artur Beterbiev, who last month pulled out of what would have been an undisputed title clash because of a ruptured meniscus.

That undisputed fight has now been rescheduled for Oct. 12, also in Riyadh, Saudi entertainment head and organiser Turki Alalshikh said.

Bivol knocked down Zinad, now 22-1, in the opening round but the Malta-based fighter was able to continue after beating a standing count.

"We are professional boxers, we have to change our tactics at any moment, any second and even in the ring and I had enough time to change my preparations for a different fighter than Beterbiev," said Bivol.

Britain's Nick 'Wrecking' Ball earlier won the WBA featherweight title after a split decision over American defending champion Raymond Ford.

The three judges scored the fight 113-115 115-113 115-113 to the unbeaten Ball after 12 rounds.

The victory made up for a draw against WBC champion Rey Vargas in Riyadh last March.

"I should be two-time (champion) but it's not the case. I'm the champ now so it doesn't really matter," the stocky Liverpudlian, his shorts stained with blood after a blow on the nose, told DAZN.

Ford, making the first defence of the title and with a clear height advantage, was gracious in defeat.

"He was the better man tonight," he said. "I got no excuses."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ken Ferris)

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