Artur Beterbiev


Artur Beterbiev Defeats Joe Smith

No pre-fight nonsense, trash talk or wild press conference antics were needed to sell this hard-hitting bout. Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith was guaranteed to please–and it did.

Two power-punching Light Heavyweight champions, three belts. No pre-fight nonsense, trash talk or wild press conference antics were needed to sell this hard-hitting bout.

Boxing fans knew going into this fight that it was almost a guarantee that we wouldn’t need the judges.

And they were right.

WBC/IBF world champion Artur Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) and WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs) packed Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden to unify three of the four titles and to lay their claim as the best 175-pound fighter in the world (of course, Dmitry Bivol can still make that argument).

Beterbiev came into the fight as boxing’s only world champion with a 100 percent knockout ratio, while the Long Island native Smith hoped to continue his improbable run as a boxing world champion and score another career-defining upset.

After his last victory over Marcus Browne, many people began to discuss Beterbiev’s age–claiming that the 37-year-old Russian native was beginning to show signs of decline. Beterbiev even spoke to this perception during the pre-fight press conference.

“I always ask my boxing coach and my conditioning coach about how I’m doing,” said Beterbiev. “I ask them if it’s less than I was doing two years ago. They tell me that I’m doing better than two years ago.”

Indeed, Beterbiev showed no signs of decline in icing Joe Smith Jr. in just two lopsided rounds.

In Round 1, Smith was dropped for the first time in his career, and although he got out of the round without any signs of being damaged, the second stanza was not as friendly for the local fighter.

Beterbiev was patient and landed impactful punches as he began hitting Smith cleanly with his other-worldly power. After three knockdowns, referee Harvey Dock had seen enough and waved off the contest to give Beterbiev the stoppage win.

Marilyn Paulino/Round By Round Boxing

So what’s next?

Top rated Light Heavyweight contender Anthony Yarde (22-2, 21 KOs) was an interested observer at ringside, and it is said that a fight against Beterbiev is a done deal to happen in London (per Michael Benson via Twitter).

Yarde is young and can crack, having suffered two defeats at the hands of Sergey Kovalev and Lyndon Arthur. In his most recent fight, Yarde avenged his split decision loss to Arthur, stopping him via fourth-round knockout.

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