Bivol vs Zinad Predictions: Rare KO likely for Dmitry

 | Friday 31st May 2024, 10:58am

Friday 31st May 2024, 10:58am

dmitry Bivol

Dmitry Bivol defends his WBA light heavyweight championship against Malik Zinad this Saturday, June 1. The fight takes place on the Queensberry vs Matchroom 5v5 card in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, though it is not part of the main tournament. DAZN PPV will screen the bout.

Here are my Bivol vs Zinad predictions ahead of this world title attraction.

Bivol vs Zinad Tips

  • Bivol by knockout @ 20/21
  • Fight to go the distance - No @ 10/11

Bivol vs Zinad Odds

With all due respect to the challenger, this is not a fight anyone wanted. When the 5v5 card was initially announced, it was set to be topped by Bivol vs Artur Beterbiev for the undisputed light heavyweight championship.

That fight would have crowned a four-belt ruler at 175 pounds. But more than that, it was a dream fight due to the rare qualities of the men involved. Both Bivol and Beterbiev are unbeaten. The former is an arch-technician, a boxing scientist of renown. The latter is a wrecking ball, a dangerous warrior who somehow improves when cornered. The fight was so perfectly balanced that even Thanos would have bought a ticket. 

Unfortunately, Beterbiev picked up a knee injury earlier this month. A pin has been put in that blockbuster matchup for now. Hopefully, like the long-delayed Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk undisputed title fight, it does still take place. But for now, Zinad gets an unexpected chance at glory.

The Libyan is yet to do anything that warrants such a shot. His best win came in his last bout, a majority decision over Jerome Pampellone. But even then, Pampellone is only fringe world level at best. The only other notable on Zinad’s record is Ezequiel Maderna, the Argentine former Olympian who is 31-12 as a pro.

Zinad goes up against a man who is part of every pound-for-pound list worth its salt. Bivol burst onto the mainstream radar with a superb win over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in 2022. While that victory was star-making in nature, the truth is Bivol has been almost-incomparable for a while.

The Russian is in his seventh year as WBA light heavyweight champion. During that period he has made 11 successful title defences. Bivol has beaten reigning or former world champions like Gilberto Ramirez, Joe Smith Jr and Jean Pascal. He has outpointed top Brits Craig Richards and Lyndon Arthur as well as quality contenders like Sullivan Barrera, Isaac Chilemba and Umar Salamov.

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Zinad is rangy and quick, with decent power. His 16 knockouts from 22 wins are testament to the latter. The Libyan boxer fights with a low-slung lead hand, for fluidity as he arcs his jabs and uppercuts. A rising jab is used to set up effective overhand rights, something Pampellone felt plenty of in that fight.

But it is hard to see this style troubling Bivol. He is a monument to orthodoxy. The champion’s style is as textbook as they come but executed with quiet magnificence. Bivol boxes behind a high guard, using his jab to work his way in before introducing rapier-sharp straight punches into the mix. 

It is a style that unpicks rather than eviscerates. Bivol’s last nine fights have all ended via unanimous decision in his favour. Considering how many shots ricocheted off an under-attack Lyndon Arthur last December, one wonders if power is simply the one facet Bivol lacks.

For that reason, a decision win at 10/11 would be the most prudent pick. But it isn’t the selection I’ll be making. I feel Zinad’s openness, coupled with his lack of elite experience, will see Bivol spring a rare stoppage.

The Russian is 20/21 to knock Zinad out at any time and I feel he’ll do just that. That low left hand of Zinad is catnip to someone with Bivol’s style. The WBA kingpin’s jab will find a home all evening and, when that jab lands, the pounding of Bivol’s right hand echoes loud and frequently around arenas.

Bivol doesn’t usually stop his opponents but Zinad is not an ordinary Bivol challenger. He has been elevated into this position by virtue of Beterbiev’s injury. Unfortunately, I feel like this leap is too much for him. Expect a shorter-than-usual night for Bivol.

You can find all our latest boxing betting tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights Boxing page

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