Report- Artur Beterbiev-Joe Smith Finalized For June
The anticipated Light Heavyweight unification title bout for three of the prominent belts between unbeaten Russian Artur Beterbiev and American Joe Smith, Jr. is appears to be on for June in New York City.
Who wins and how?https://t.co/AqtxdqQMMW
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) March 18, 2022
Beterbiev and Smith Jr. have agreed to a deal for a light heavyweight title unification on June 18 in New York, sources told ESPN. The Top Rank Boxing on ESPN main event could take place at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, but a site has not been finalized.
Beterbiev, ESPN’s No. 1 light heavyweight, is the division’s lone unified champion; Smith and Dmitry Bivol also hold titles. Bivol meets boxing’s top star, Canelo Alvarez, on May 7 in Las Vegas.
The winner of Alvarez-Bivol paired against the victor of Beterbiev-Smith would crown an undisputed light heavyweight champion; it’s a goal Alvarez has already set for 2023.
As we wrote previously, Beterbiev has 17 Knockouts in his 17 pro wins with the Russian having defeated American Marcus Browne in December by 9th round TKO, in his latest “stay busy” Unified title defense. Beterbiev, who now lives and trains out of Quebec, Canada.
As for Canelo in this, Alvarez defeated fellow Russian Sergey Kovalev by TKO in his lone Light Heavyweight bout in November 2019 winning the WBO title at that time. Alvarez quickly vacated the belt and it set into motion for Smith to defeat Russian Maxim Vlasov for that version of the 175 lb. title.
Smith, 28-3, was last in the ring in December, when he scored a 9th round KO of late replacement Steve Geffrard in Verona, New York. Geffrard from South Florida, took the fight on eight days notice after Britain’s Calum Johnson had tested positive for Covid-19 nullifying him from the title shot.
As Coppinger wrote, Top Rank Boxing promotes both fighters in the U.S. and that made it easier for this deal to be negotiated and agreed upon by the fighters.