Top Rank announced via press release and social media that the clash between Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) and Callum Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) has been postponed for now. The bout was set to headline a card at the Vidéotron Centre in Québec City, Québec, Canada on August 19. Beterbiev, who is the WBC, WBO, and IBF light heavyweight champion, was set to make a defense of those titles on that date after Top Rank won the purse bid for the fight. The bout would have served as a mandatory defense of Beterbiev’s WBC belt.
According to the press release, Beterbiev suffered a bone infection to his jaw. He underwent surgery earlier on July 30 in Montréal, Québec, Canada. As a result, he would not be able to fight on the previously announced date of August 19.
Here is more from the Top Rank press release:
WBC/WBO/IBF light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev’s title defense against former super middleweight world champion Callum Smith—originally scheduled for Saturday, August 19, at Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada—has been postponed due to a bone infection to Beterbiev’s jaw. He underwent surgery earlier today in Montreal, Canada.
Promoted by Eye of the Tiger and Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing, information regarding a rescheduled date will be announced in due course.
Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs), who resides in Montreal, is boxing’s only world champion with a 100 percent knockout ratio. Smith (29-1, 21 KOs), the WBC’s mandatory challenger, has won two bouts by stoppage since dropping a decision in a 2020 title unification fight against Canelo Alvarez.
ESPN’s Mike Coppinger claims that the infection was due to dental work. Coppinger also claims that the bout is expected to be rescheduled for late 2023 or early 2024.
Per Top Rank, it’s a bone infection to Beterbiev’s jaw; he underwent surgery earlier today in Montréal, where he resides.
The infection was a result of dental work, sources tell ESPN. The fight is expected to be rescheduled for late 2023/early 2024, per sources. https://t.co/mTh6pOwQxB
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) July 30, 2023
Beterbiev was last seen in action against Anthony Yarde in the UK on January 28. He dropped Yarde in the eighth round before Yarde’s corner asked referee Steve Gray to stop the contest. On the other hand, Smith last fought on August 20 last year in Saudi Arabia. He fought on the undercard of Usyk-Joshua II and scored a fourth round knockout of Mathieu Bauderlique. As a result, he became a mandatory challenger for Beterbiev.
For now, fight fans will have to wait for a new date to be announced. Details about undercard fights have also not yet been provided. Top Rank is expected to make an announcement in due course.