Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr squared off in the main event live from Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday June 18, which made it Sunday June 19 in the UK and Australia. The contest featured undefeated unified WBC and IBF champion up against WBO titleholder battling it out for a unified light heavyweight crown.
The scheduled for twelve rounds world championship bout didn’t go the full distance. Beterbiev was in total control, dominated and stopped Smith Jr. The fight officially ended at 2 minutes and 19 seconds into the second round.
With the victory Artur Beterbiev improves to 18-0, 18 KOs and remains undefeated with 100% KO ration. Two-time Russian Olympian based in Montreal, Canada retains his WBC and IBF belts and claims the WBO strap. Long Island’s Joe Smith Jr drops to 28-4, 22 KOs.
“My coach told me it’s not too far until I become a good boxer,” Beterbiev said. “Joe’s a little bit open, and it was more easy for me to get him. [Both of us] have a good punch, and both tried to [connect] first. I’m lucky that I was first.”
A new unified three-belt champion, Artur Beterbiev is now one step closer to the undisputed title. The only missing WBA belt is currently held by Canelo Alvarez’s recent opponent Dmitry Bivol.
Sitting ringside was British contender Anthony Yarde, who may be next in line for a shot at Beterbiev this fall. The unified champion’s preference though is a fight with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.
“Unification fights are more interesting, more motivating,” Beterbiev said. “I prefer unification fight. I want to be undisputed.”
Check out Artur Beterbiev vs Joe Smith Jr full fight video highlights up top. The winner’s post-fight interview is available below.
Artur Beterbiev post-fight interview
Get Beterbiev vs Smith Jr full fight card results.