In a resounding display of power, Artur Beterbiev delivered a knockout blow to Callum Smith on Saturday night. He successfully ended up retaining his WBC, IBF, and WBO light-heavyweight world titles.
The match was stopped in round seven when the British combatant was knocked down twice by his opponent. His coach Buddy McGirt ended up climbing in the ring, which stopped the match.
From the opening seconds, Beterbiev established dominance. He aggressively attacked Smith against the ropes. Despite this early assault, the Brit weathered the storm. He ended up finding his rhythm and landing effective punches.
By the second round, Beterbiev maintained control. He effortlessly avoided Smith’s jab, neutralizing his height and reach advantages. While Smith remained competitive, he was consistently outlanded. He ended up feeling the full impact of the champion’s powerful jab.
As the bout progressed, Smith’s right eye swelled and he was bloodied from the nose. Round four intensified the pressure, with Beterbiev visibly hurting Smith against the ropes.
Artur Beterbiev stops Callum Smith in round 7 to retain the unified WBC, IBF, WBO & lineal light heavyweight titles, improving his perfect record to 20-0 with 20 knockouts.
— 𝒟𝒾𝒶𝓇𝒾𝑜𝓈 (@DiariosJournals) January 14, 2024
By the time they reached the midway mark, the challenger was only sometimes successful and the champion was clearly in control.
In the seventh round, the climax arrived when a powerful overhand right from Beterbiev left Smith on unsteady legs. A ruthless combination followed, resulting in Smith’s first career knockdown.
Smith managed to stand again, but his injuries were obviously severe.
Despite Smith’s resilience, Beterbiev’s relentless pursuit led to another knockdown. Recognizing the severity of the situation, Smith’s coach Buddy McGirt wisely intervened. With this, the match ended and Beterbiev secured his victory.
In a post-win interview, Beterbiev expressed his desire for an undisputed clash with WBA light-heavyweight world champion Dmitry Bivol. He said: “Yes of course, I need the fourth belt. It would mean in this category, I have done it. It means a lot for me. It’s the top.”
With Bivol having already signed for the showdown in Saudi Arabia later this year, the spotlight now shifts to negotiating a similar agreement with Beterbiev.
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) January 14, 2024