While we await a showdown between rival light heavyweight champions Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol, fans will get what could be a good fight in the meantime, this between Beterbiev and Callum Smith. This fight was recently ordered by the WBC and now, Bob Arum has given further details. Speaking with Pro Box TV, the Top Rank boss said the fight will take place in August, in Quebec, Canada.
“That’s going to be in Quebec in early August,” Arum said of the 175 pound title fight. “We have a beautiful arena we’re putting it in in Quebec – we’ve already got secured the arena – we’re ready to go, we’re sending out all the papers. I don’t know exactly what the date is. We’re going to do it on ESPN. All of these light heavyweights who can crack are dangerous. Beterbiev punches like a mule, so the only way you can beat him is if he’s fighting a guy with equal power. Can Smith hurt him? I don’t know. We’ll see.”
We will indeed. Smith recently spoke about how Beterbiev is not invincible, that he has been knocked down and that he believes he himself “can beat anyone on the planet.” Hopefully we will get a good fight in August, maybe a great fight.
Beterbiev, an impressive 19-0(19), is coming off a thrilling, hard-fought stoppage win over an extremely game Anthony Yarde; this fight, some suggest, being in the frame as far as scooping up the FOTY award when the time comes. Smith, 29-1(21) earned WBC mandatory status in his last fight, when he stopped Mathieu Bauderlique last August. Smith was to have boxed a keep-busy affair since then, but an injury forced him to remain idle. So, although going into a fight with wrecking machine Beterbiev having been out of the ring for some months is not ideal, this is what Smith will be doing.
This one is an interesting fight, even if it’s not the big four-belt unification clash we all so badly want to see. Beterbiev, in the opinion of some, looked all of his 38 years in the Yarde fight, the Russian a little slower and easier to hit in the fight, somewhat vulnerable even. That said, Beterbiev was able to walk though the big-punching Yarde’s best shots in January.
The big-for-the weight Smith, a former super-middleweight ruler, is significantly younger at age 32 and he has never been stopped, his sole loss coming via lopsided decision against Canelo Alvarez. Liverpool’s Smith is also experienced, and he has those long arms. Smith, too, has shown nasty power at 175. So far, no man has been able to take Beterbiev the full 12 rounds? Might Smith be the man up to the task? Might Smith do better than that and pull off what would be a great away win for British boxing?