THE RESULT: As is customary, Dmitrii Bivol dominated nearly every second of every round but was unable to find a finish against a brave Lyndon Arthur, who climbed off the floor in the 11th and dug deep to hear the final bell. All three judges scored it a 120-107 shutout.
KEY MOMENTS: With only seconds remaining in the 11th round, Bivol finally began to go through the gears and, with Arthur pinned against the ropes, began to unload. The relentless flurry of punches forced the Brit to the floor but he rose in time to beat the count, cleared his head in the corner, then made it through the 12th too.
RECORDS: By virtue of his victory, Bivol is 22-0 with 11 inside the distance while Arthur suffers his second defeat to go 23-2 (16).
TALKING POINTS: Although he had it almost all his own way and controlled the majority of the fight, Bivol was unable or unwilling to go through the gears to secure the stoppage until he began to press in the 11th. It is now five and a half years since his last inside-distance victory, when he got rid of Sullivan Barrera in the 12th of their 2018 clash. What will this mean when he takes on the winner of Artur Beterbiev against Callum Smith for all the belts next?
Bivol said: “I would say this was good sparring for me. Lyndon was using his good jab and I’m glad at the end of the year I got this fight. Now I see my way to my goal – to be undisputed – against the winner of Beterbiev-Smith. I hope this happens in 2024, in my next fight. I didn’t push myself at times because I wasn’t sure if I had the power or not. I looked in his eyes and he kept something inside himself too.”
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?:
Turki Al-Alshikh has personally said he want to make Bivol-Beterbiev in 2024 but Smith has got other ideas and is hoping to put a knife through those plans in January. Smith faces Beterbiev in Quebec City on January 13 and the winner knows a money-spinning Saudi clash with Bivol is the on the table that night as well as the belts. Arthur, beaten twice, will probably drop back into the bustling domestic light-heavyweight scene and look for fights against the likes of Craig Richards, who he has been linked with previously.