Artur Beterbiev expects ‘good fight’, Joe Smith Jr ‘trained at 110 percent’

Beterbiev vs Smith Jr for unified light heavyweight title live from Hulu Theater at MSG in New York

Undefeated unified WBC and IBF champion and knockout artist Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) and WBO titleholder Joe Smith Jr (28-3, 22 KOs) square off in the light heavyweight title unification at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, June 18. The twelve-round main event features two of the division’s finest in one of the year’s most anticipated showdowns with three world title belts on the line.

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In the co-main event two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez (9-1, 5 KOs) takes on unbeaten Abraham Nova (21-0, 15 KOs). Ramirez has won nine straight bouts since a shocking loss in his pro debut, while Nova has settled in at featherweight after spending the first five-plus years of his career campaigning at junior lightweight. The pair battles it out in the ten-rounder at featherweight.

On the top of Beterbiev vs Smith undercard Bruce Carrington (3-0, 2 KO), the latest standout to come from Brownsville, Brooklyn, is back in the ring in the six-round featherweight battle against Adrian Leyva (3-2-1, 1 KOs). Carrington made his pro debut on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder III undercard last October, signed with Top Rank later that year, and has won two fights thus far in 2022. In March, at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, he scored a highlight-reel knockout over Yeuri Andujar.

Tickets for the event can be purchased through TicketNetwork and Vivid Seats. The date when the event airs live in the UK and Australia is Sunday, June 19.

Artur Beterbiev vs Joe Smith Jr date, time, how to watch, undercard

The final pre-fight press conferencce was held on Thursday. In addition to the fighters it also featured Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. Check out below what the participants had to say.

Bob Arum
“At my age, this fight brings me back so many decades to when Top Rank promoted the leading light heavyweights in the world like Bob Foster, Matthew Saad Muhammad, John Conteh, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, and Marvin Johnson. The light heavyweight division has given people who follow boxing great thrills for as long as I’ve been promoting fights. Now we have this fight, which will go into the annals like all the great light heavyweight fights of the past and may even be the one that is the greatest.”

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“Joe Smith is a tremendous fighter. He has a big heart. He has a lot of skills and a lot of punching power. And what can I say about Artur Beterbiev? He really epitomizes the ferocity that light heavyweights have been known for. Tremendous puncher. Big heart. A guy who refuses to lose. Nothing can be better than this. I predict that this fight will be considered the Fight of the Year for 2022.”

Artur Beterbiev
“This is a very important fight for me. With regard to the place, it’s not different for me. I’m more focused on the fight. I’m more focused on my opponent, not on the place. I always ask my boxing coach and my conditioning coach about how I’m doing. 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.”

“If we compare it to the last one, this camp went very well. This camp was better. I want to thank my team, my conditioning coach, my boxing coach, all my team and all my sparring partners who helped me. We had a good camp.”

“We are both ready for this fight. I think it’s going to be a good fight. We will see. I can’t predict the future. I’m just a boxer.”

Bob Arum, Artur Beterbiev, Joe Smith Jr and Joe DeGuardia
L-R: Bob Arum, Artur Beterbiev, Joe Smith Jr and Joe DeGuardia at the press conference | Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Joe Smith Jr.
“This is a huge opportunity. Beterbiev is a huge name in boxing. Everyone knows who he is at this point. He has two world titles, and I want those belts. I believe this fight is going to be great. You’ve got two big punchers, and I’m just excited to be in there with him. He’s a great name.”

“I’m fighting at the Garden. Home is not too far from here. All my fans are going to be here to support me or, if not, watch at home. I’m just glad to be here defending my WBO title and unifying two other belts.”

“I believe this guy is in his prime right now. I don’t think age has anything to do with it. I know he’s here at 100 percent and ready to go. I know I’m here fighting one of the best, so I trained at 110 percent. I made this camp a little longer. I made sure that I improved things that I wasn’t doing at my best. I stayed more consistent with my training, so I feel comfortable about this weekend.”

Robeisy Ramirez
“My level increases with the quality of opponent that I have in front of me. So, I think my growth is due to me increasing the level of my opposition and because we’ve been increasing our work, both mentally and physically.”

“We decided to take this fight because it would lead to a title shot. We all know who Abraham is. We all know the kind of record he has. So, a victory would put us one step away from fighting for a title. This was the step we wanted to take and the fight we were looking for. We weren’t looking to make a fight that wasn’t this one.”

“We didn’t make any adjustments. We did the kind of training camp that we would do for any other fight. At the end of the day, he is an opponent who has two arms and will be boxing. So, we just have to be prepared physically and go out there and work.”

Robeisy Ramirez vs Abraham Nova faceoff
Robeisy Ramirez and Abraham Nova faceoff at press conference | Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Abraham Nova
“I’ve been trying to fight for a world title at 130, but I haven’t gotten the opportunity. I felt like there was a lot of political things going on. So, I decided to go down to 126 and see if I could make a run. I wanted the {Emanuel} Navarrete fight, but I guess he didn’t want the fight, so Robeisy was next in line. I feel like a win over him puts me in line for a title shot.”

“I feel like I’m being overlooked. People haven’t seen the best of me. In fights, I do this and I do that, but I always fix them. You guys are going to see a complete ‘Supernova’ on Saturday night. I promise that.”

“It’s always business as usual. In training camp, I did a lot of adjustments. He’s a lefty. I’m a righty. So, I had to get lefty sparring partners. I had different sparring partners every week. We have a great game plan, and I’m ready to execute it on Saturday night.”

Bruce Carrington
“It feels great to once again be fighting in this historic arena. I’m highly blessed to have back-to-back fights in my hometown as well. This is a great experience for me, and I’m ready to tackle this head-on. As a fighter, you should always get better than your last fight, so giving my folks and fans something new to see is definitely something I plan on doing this Saturday.”

Bruce Carrington at press conference
Bruce Carrington at press conference | Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Get Beterbiev vs Smith Jr full fight card and start time.

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