Dmitry Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs) of St. Petersburg, Russia showed he belongs with the elite of this competitive division. He retained his WBO World Light Heavyweight Championship belt over one of the toughest contenders in the division, Isaac Chilemba (25-6-2, 10 KOs) of Malawi. Scores were 120-108 on two cards, and 116-112 on the third.
Bivol came out aggressively, backing up Chilemba with snapping jabs, setting up an array of power shots. Chilemba, known for his fortitude as one of the toughest tests for any light heavyweight to pass, found himself battered by Bivol and trying to find a way past his defensive movement.
Chilemba has earned his reputation as a worthy challenger, and remained determined. In the later rounds, he adjusted to Bivol's offense, finding ways to score punches on the young Russian and slow down his offense. But in the end, Bivol's speed, power, and accuracy were too much for Chilemba.
Meiirim "The Sultan" Nursultanov (8-0, 7 KOs) made it a quick night, needing only two rounds to defeat Jonathan Batista (17-15, 10 KOs) of the Dominican Republic. Batista's corner called an end to the fight after the second round, following a tremendous headshot by Nursultanov at the end of the round. While it did not cause a knockdown, Batista had already taken enough punishment through both rounds for his team to protect their fighter.
Despite the victory, Nursultanov wanted to put on more of a show.
Karl Dargan (18-1, 9 KOs) of Philadelphia launched his comeback after three years away from the sport with a unanimous decision in six rounds over Jonathan Perez of Colombia (37-23, 29 KOs). All three judges saw the fight as a shutout for Dargan with scores of 60-54.