Set for this weekend in Quebec City, Artur Beterbiev is putting his WBC, WBO, and IBF 175-pound titles on the line vs. challenger Callum Smith. Per the latest reports, Beterbiev is recognized as the No. 7 pound-for-pound fighter by ESPN and is also the only champion with an astonishing 100% knockout ratio. Meanwhile, his opponent Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) is a former super middleweight champion. His only pro defeat came in 2020 vs. Canelo Alvarez. Since moving up to 175 pounds from 168, he has fought twice at the light heavyweight level, both stoppage wins inside four rounds vs. domestic-level opposition. Moreover, after a postponement last year, Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) will return to his adopted hometown of Quebec City for this main event showdown.
For this report, SBS will be going over what to look for from each boxer, a predicted winner, and also more notes and news about boxing betting.
A sensational fighter with a ton of stopping power, Beterbiev enters this contest with an unblemished record at 19-0 with all of his victories coming by way of knockout. He is coming off a spectacular eighth-round TKO win over Anthony Yarde last January at the OVO Arena. He is the unified light heavyweight champion, having held the IBF title since 2017, the WBC since 2019, and the WBO belt since 2022. Moreover, he is ranked by some outlets as the No. 2 fighter at 175 pounds and there is heavy anticipation ahead of a potential undisputed light heavyweight matchup next year with Dmitry Bivol who is recognized as the best in the class.
Of course, he must get through Smith first before he can take on Bivol. This matchup was initially expected to take place in August of last year, but the fight was postponed in late July as Beterbiev had to undergo jaw surgery due to a bone infection. Now, he is healed up and ready to go for this hard-hitting contest. Of course, with this much punching power on tap for this battle, Beterbiev does have a fair shot to finish off his opponent via knockout. In his last five bouts though, only one has ended prior to the eighth round, that being his WBO light-heavyweight title TKO win over Joe Smith Jr. in June 2022.
A very accomplished fighter in his own right, the English combatant held the WBA (Super) and Ringe titles from 2018 to 2020. Smith also comes from an excellent family of athletes as he is the youngest of the Smith which includes Paul, Stephen, and Liam, all of whom are professional fighters. While he did lose to Alvarez back in December 2020, he has rebounded nicely with back-to-back KO wins over the likes of Lenin Castillo and Mathieu Bauderlique. His last matchup was against the latter in Saudi Arabia at the King Abdullah Sports City and resulted in an emphatic second-round knockout victory for the Englishman. Moreover, Smith defeated Castillo with a brutal second-round knockout that resulted in his opponent being stretchered out of the ring following the conclusion of their bout.
He has put together an excellent career as well at 33 years of age. In 2018, he won the World Boxing Super Series super-middleweight tournament, which also notched him the Muhammad Ali trophy in the process. During this contest, he knocked off George Groves in the final bout via seventh-round TKO and established himself as the best boxer at 168 pounds. “Mundo” has 21 knockout wins in his career, to pair with eight decision victories, and has been successful at various weight levels in his career. He won the welterweight gold medal at the GB Amateur Boxing Championships in 2010 and also the silver medal in that division at the Commonwealth Games that same year. As noted above, he is undefeated since moving to this new weight class ranking, but this will be of course his biggest challenge yet as he stares down the undefeated Beterbiev.
Prediction: An excellent matchup for boxing fans, Beterbiev has the edge here given his more extensive and dominant track record in the division. While Smith is a sensational fighter in his own right, no one has been able to slow down the Chechen wrecking ball in his own division for long. Regardless, this matchup does have the chance to go the distance or at least offer a late-round knockout opportunity.
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