Dmitry Bivol is one of the best boxers in the sport right now. In fact, I would go as far as to say he is a genius when in the ring.
He is a man with a style that is all about outsmarting and outboxing his opponents. When Bivol steps into the ring, his goal isn’t to just beat you, but to completely neutralize your game plan and leave you feeling nothing but frustrated and helpless.
So get ready for an in-depth look at one of the most skilled and technical fighters in the sport today!
You can watch my video version or continue reading below:
Bivol is a stoic and interesting character with a diverse background. His father is of Moldovan descent and his mother is of Korean descent. Dmitry was born and raised in Kyrgyzstan until the age of 11, when he moved to Russia.
He began boxing at the age of 6 and quickly became a successful amateur, before going on to win two world championships at the junior level and a bronze medal at the 2008 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in the middleweight division. Bivol also won the Russian national amateur boxing championships in 2012 and 2014 as a light heavyweight and finished his amateur career with a very impressive record of 268-15.
Watching him early on in his career you can tell you he focuses more on a classic Soviet-inspired style keeping light on his toes using a pendulum step while using footwork for movement to create angles and control distance.
While his attacks are more about the precision of his punches landed using a lot more straight punches. However, at the same time, you can tell he was far from being the finished article even back then. And it’s interesting to see differences and variations since turning pro.
This of course leads me to how Dmitry fights today.
Dmitry Bivol’s Boxing Style
For me, Bivol is a front foot out-boxer through and through who looks to use range, timing, and movement to win fights. It sometimes may not be the most entertaining, but if you love the intricate details of the sweet science or box yourself, you will no doubt have a great appreciation for this style.
He mixes the Eastern European/Soviet style using good solid fundamentals. However, he does occasionally mix some flashy American-style movements with a lower guard to help with things such as his balance to move quickly, counter-punching, and unpredictability.
Dmitry has even admitted to being inspired by the likes of Roy Jones Jr and Sugar Ray Leonard and I can definitely see him use this in his approach at times
But despite some added American inspirations. Bivol style is based on the disciplined Soviet approach that values technical proficiency, physical conditioning, and ring IQ. This style allows Bivol to outbox his opponents and attack when the opportunity arises.
Whether he’s facing off against an opponent with a more aggressive style or one who prefers to play defense. Bivol’s disciplined approach gives him the best chance to come out on top.
But now let’s look at some individual areas where he’s had success.
The Jab and lead hand
As I just mentioned Bivol is mostly an out-boxer fighter and he’s best when keeping at range using his lead hand as his primary weapon. This is very evident when you look at some of the stats compared to others in the sport today. Where he will throw and connect his jab more often than not. Landing it against larger opponents who struggle to counter his technical ability with it.
He quite often gets compared to fencing with it. And like a fencer, a boxer who uses their lead hand effectively is able to lead the action, control the distance between themselves and their opponent, as well as create openings for attacks and defend against incoming punches.
But in the case of the sweet science, you need to be able to read and react to your opponent’s movements, using quick footwork and precise hand movements to keep themselves out of harm’s way and control the flow of the fight.
For Bivol, the reason he is so successful at landing on opponents is he mixes up his jab by using many variations with it. Including the following
- Going to the body
- Doubling up his jab to different locations
- Constantly feinting to keep the opponent guessing
- Throwing the spear jabs to get through the guard from different angles
- Circling to the left with the jab to set up the right
- Using arm control to steer away his opponent and set up shots.
The other thing Bivol likes to do is occupy the guard of his opponents with straight jabs or punches. Before going around the guard with wide hooks and then pushing off it.
He also likes to keep his jab extended after throwing it. So he continues to control the range, occupy the guard or simply frustrate his opponent to commit and leave themselves open.
Not only that he is always ready to quickly jump out of range using that so-called Russian/soviet pendulum step. That also adds to his distance management with the lead. But a big part of this is of course the combination with his footwork.
See Bivol’s Jab in action below:
Footwork and movement
When we think of Bivol’s footwork it’s first important to consider his stance. He stands from an orthodox position using quite a wide-bladed stance. Where he looks to transfer his weight swiftly between each leg. Thus giving him the ability to quickly move linearly or laterally out or in position.
From studying him, it is very clear he has trained and perfected his footwork over many years. He has honed his movement to be quick and agile, Therefore giving him the ability to smoothly transition between wide and narrow stances to position himself for attacks or defense movements. Whether he’s sidestepping, pivoting out to his left, or using the L step to move right, Bivol is always in control of his movement.
This, consequently, allows him to move effectively move around the ring or off the ropes to try to retake the center ring and assert his dominance again. His footwork, therefore, helps to control the distance, and pace and even helps to set up counters.
In terms of more offense work, Dmitry Bivol’s footwork is notable for being able to hold his ground, and apply pressure but also unpredictability.
So rather than relying on using pendulum steps constantly, which could be seen in his amateur days.
Bivol now uses it selectively, often in combination with feints, to put his opponents on the back foot or on the ropes. In other instances, when he does attack, he employs a bouncing in and out movement. Which is of course very reminiscent of Manny Pacquiao’s style, making it difficult for opponents to anticipate his next move.
This allows Bivol to avoid getting hit cleanly with power shots, while also allowing him to quickly return fire.
In my opinion, I think Bivol teaches us a good lesson about when to use the pendulum step by using it more situationally instead making it part of your whole style. This is something some fighters can fall victim to as they use it too often, or make it become an unnecessary habit. As they can get timed with punches if used at the wrong time, especially against elite-level of fighters who can identify and look to counter this.
But Overall, it’s Bivol’s ability to change his rhythm in the ring and keep his opponents guessing is a key success of his in the ring.
Check examples of Bivol’s footwork below:
Rhythm and Ring IQ
Rhythm in boxing refers to the timing of repeated movement patterns. And when I think of boxer a who uses this almost perfectly, I can’t help but think of Dmirity Bivol.
The Russain is skilled at using rhythm in his footwork, upper body and head movement, and punching to outmaneuver his opponents so he can gain positional advantage or an opening to attack. He is also known for his ability to change his rhythm in order to adapt to different situations in the ring.
One of the key ways that Bivol uses his rhythm to win fights is by staying out of range and keeping himself in the center of the ring. He is skilled at resetting himself to retake control of the center ring and using feints and jabs to frustrate and create openings for his own shots.
Bivol also switches between different approaches in the ring, going from a quick, explosive front-foot combination puncher to moving and boxing on the outside and using different feints with his feet, lead hand, and upper body. This ability to change his approach allows him to control the fight and outbox his opponents all night. It’s not about being constantly erratic like Joe Frazier, but instead choosing the right moment to change the pattern. Read more about what rhythm in boxing is here.
Overall, Bivol’s use of rhythm and ring IQ is was makes him so good. By using his technical skills and strategic thinking to control the rhythm of the fight and adapt to different situations, he is able to outmaneuver and outlast almost any opponent. Watch my video on Bivol using rhythm below:
Defense And Countering
This leads to my other point around another area of success for Bivol as the Russian according to comp box opponents has the lowest power punch connection in boxing against him with only 22.2% (Compubox 2023*) from when I published this article.
A big part of this comes down to his footwork as I’ve discussed earlier, but it’s also important to look at other areas of the guard.
Bivol will tend to opt for a higher guard defense at mid to close range. When using the high guard he will keep his hands close to his face to protect against hooks to block or use his right hand to parry away jabs thrown at him.
Using the guard in the right situation alongside subtle linear footwork makes it even more difficult to break through the guard at any point and quite often is just a way to set up a return counter.
Not only that, you will see him look to catch the counter with the guard waiting to time with a precise left hook or time his opponent jab with a slip /right counter.
Also think just his use of framing with the lead hand helps to stop his opponent’s attack due to fear of Biolvbeing able to attack with his right hand while helping him to control the distance.
Check out some of Bivol’s Counter Punching below:
Punch Combinations and Precision
Now the final part I want to discuss is his beautiful combination punching. Overall I would actually say Bivol is a very cautious fighter and you can tell himself he is really waiting for the right time to attack his opponents with this.
What I’ve noticed though is he almost always tries to occupy the guard to narrow it, before quickly firing a left hook around the guard, before going back to straight punches. He’ll even slightly changes the trajectory of his punches at times. Making it even more difficult for an opponent to react, anticipate, block or defend against.
But for whatever reason, he doesn’t continue to keep going with an attack, he’ll then start boxing on the back foot again. No doubt making his opponent even more unsure or frustrated about where his next attack combination will come from.
The other thing I love about when Bivol throws these combinations it almost acts as if he is on the double bag (see in the video below) when using these combinations. Each punch delivers with preciseness and power all while landing accurately and effectively.
Check out some of Bivol’s punch combinations below:
In 2022, Dmitry Bivol finally got the chance to prove to the world just how good he really is. (Even being named Ring Magazine Fighter of The Year) With his impressive combination of technical skills, physical conditioning, ring IQ, and dedication to his craft, Bivol has become a formidable force in the sport of boxing.
His ability to change his rhythm in the ring and make the right decisions in almost every situation has made him difficult to face for any opponent. Whether he’s fighting on the outside or in the center of the ring, Bivol is a master at outboxing his opponents and demonstrating his superior skills.
With his talent and determination, there’s no doubt that Bivol will continue to rise to the top and make try to make name for himself as one of the greatest fighters we have seen in the sport.
Hope you enjoyed this post and make sure to check out more boxing styles features.
You can also check out my in-depth look at his former opponent, Canelo Alvarez.
Thanks for reading!
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