By Craig Daly: IBF/WBC mild heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev fights WBO champ Joe Smith Jr. this Saturday night time, June 18th, in a 175-lb unification bout at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York.
Smith (28-3 (22 KOs) isn’t the perfect fighter that Beterbiev has fought throughout his nine-year skilled profession, however he’s a formidable impediment now, given his age and exercise stage.
The 2-time Olympian Beterbiev is 37-years-old and hasn’t fought a lot within the final 5 years.
Many boxing followers imagine Beterbiev has began to point out indicators of slowing down since his battle with WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk in 2019, and if he hasn’t appeared exceptionally sharp in his final two fights in opposition to Marcus Browne & Adam Deines.
Nonetheless, with Beterbiev’s 100% KO proportion, huge energy, and relentless combating model, Smith has an actual combat on his palms on Saturday night time.
Smith was simply outboxed by Dmitry Bivol in 2019, dropping by a one-sided 12-round unanimous resolution. In 2017, Sullivan Barrera surprisingly defeated Smith by a 10-round unanimous resolution.
Smith attributes that defeat to a damaged jaw that he suffered through the combat, however he struggled in opposition to Barrera even earlier than the harm occurred. For Smith to defeat Beterbiev, he’s obtained to combat rather a lot higher than he did in opposition to Barrera and Bivol.
“I plan on having a fourth of July celebration or one thing to get the household collectively and simply have an excellent time collectively and celebrating with three of my belts,” stated Joe Smith to High Rank Boxing.
Within the co-feature bout, two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez (9-1, 5 KOs) shall be taking up unbeaten Abraham Nova (21-0, 15 KOs) in a 10-round bout.
It is a BIG step up in school for the 28-year-old Cuban Robeisy, however it’s comprehensible why High Rank is making this transfer. Given Ramirez’s age and huge expertise within the amateurs, he’s not somebody that requires years of improvement like different fighters.
Additionally, Robeisy’s age makes it mandatory for him to be moved alongside shortly if his promoters wish to put him in massive fights whereas he’s nonetheless younger sufficient to succeed.
Given what’s at stake on this out, the promotion for the Beterbiev-Smith Jr combat has been surprisingly low-key in comparison with among the latest lackluster match-ups like Edgar Berlanga vs. Alexis Angulo.
The winner of the Beterbiev vs. Smith combat may face WBA champion Dmitry Bivol or presumably Canelo Alvarez if he nonetheless has the ambition to seize titles at 175 after his dangerous expertise.
This Saturday’s Beterbiev-Smith card shall be proven on ESPN & ESPN+ at 9:00 p.m. ET. Within the UK, the combat shall be proven on Sky.
The winner will maintain three of the 4 belts at 175 and can solely want the WBA strap held by Bivol to change into the undisputed champion within the weight class.
Canelo could also be lured by the prospect so as to add to his already excellent legacy by taking up Beterbiev or Smith if he defeats Bivol subsequent 12 months. These two may combat in Could 2023 if Canelo beats Gennadiy Golovkin in September and whoever he faces in December.
Boxing Information 24 » Artur Beterbiev battles Joe Smith Jr this Saturday in 175-lb unification on ESPN
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Originally posted 2022-10-01 22:20:52.