Artur Beterbiev Retains His Light-heavyweight Titles.
In Quebec City, Artur Beterbiev became the first fighter to defeat former super middleweight champion Callum Smith via seventh-round TKO, keeping his light heavyweight championships from the IBF, WBC, and WBO.
Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs), a 38-year old Russian boxer, was the subject of inquiries. Would he be able to withstand what was maybe the hardest test of his life?
With a thudding power shot and a piston-like jab, Beterbiev dominated Smith for the entire duration of the bout. Smith (29-2, 21KOs) from England had never been knocked down throughout his pro and amateur career. All of it was altered when he experienced Beterbiev’s power.
From the start, it was clear that Beterbiev had more strength because Smith was continuously being pushed back by Beterbiev jab and short blows. In round three, the British fighter tried to fight back, but Beterbiev’s power caused his face to fall.
“No matter what, Smith is a fighter that I respect a lot but in the third or fourth round, I knew I had him and it was only a matter of time,” said Beterbiev in media reports.
With a furious series of punches, Beterbiev charged forward, sending Smith sprawling to the ground. Buddy McGirt, Smith’s trainer, entered the ring to save his client from more harm, but the referee called the count.
“I need a fourth belt,” said Beterbiev.
The bout was originally slated for August 2023, but Smith had not fought in 16 months and Beterbiev had not fought in a year due to surgery in July.
Following his triumph, all eyes will be on a rematch with WBA world champion and Russian boxer Dmitry Bivol later in 2024, most likely in Saudi Arabia.
“The fight would not be in early spring. Artur just finished 16 weeks of training, and with Ramadan in March, I think he has earned a good rest,” said Marc Ramsey, Beterbiev’s trainer.
“There’s no excuse, the better man won tonight. He’s a good champion, he turned up and done what he had to do,” said Smith in media repoerts.
“He’s a good fighter, he’s a world champion for a reason. I came up short tonight and it’s a hard one to take,” he added.
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