Russian boxer Beterbiev hopes he ‘won’t be judged’ for using Canadian flag

Artur Beterbiev shared his concern regarding his treatment of his home country of Russia. The unified light heavyweight world champion is hoping that he won’t be judged for using the Canadian flag.

Artur Beterbiev is currently still undefeated since starting his professional boxing career in 2013. The Canadian-Russian boxer held the IBF title in 2017 and the WBC title in 2019. He had a unification bout on June 18 against Joe Smith Jr. for the WBO title.

The 37-year-old Dagestani showed incredible performance against Smith. Beterbiev viciously knocked out Smith in the second round. With this, not only was he unified, he also continued his knockout record. Artu Beterbiev had 18 matches since 2013 and he won all via knockouts.

However, with great success, there are a few things that concern the light heavyweight champion. Beterbiev lives in Montreal, Canada for years and has been fighting under the Canadian flag. In his last match, he boxed under the Canadian flag while he was supposed to be neutral.

This was because Russian boxers are not allowed to continue boxing under their flag following their country’s military operation in Ukraine.

During a talk with Match TV, Beterbiev said he was forced to do that.

“It was forced. Once in my entire career I performed under the Canadian flag. How many years have I been in boxing? 28. Before that, I always competed under the Russian [flag] – I hope they won’t judge me harshly and will remember that I have always represented the Russian flag, I will continue to do so as soon as possible.” Beterbiev said.

Beterbiev’s next opponent is likely to be the British boxer Anthony Yarde. Yarde is also a knockout artist, boasting of 21 knockouts out of 22 victories. During a talk with Talksport Boxing, Yarde believes he has huge advantage in speed.

“I feel like the edge that I’ll have is speed. From what I saw being there [for Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr], I feel like I’m a lot faster than him. He’s got a lot more experience.” Yarde said.

He added, “For me, it’s you can always see something outside of the ring, you can see everything, but once you’re in the ring in front of somebody, it could be the way they shape up, it could be the motion with the way they throw their punches.”