IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs) stopped an overmatched former WBO super middleweight champion Callum Smith (28-2, 21 KOs) by a seventh-round TKO on Saturday night at the Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada.
In the seventh round, Beterbiev caught Smith with the perfect right hand that took his legs away. Beterbiev went after the hurt Smith, tagging him with repeated heavy shots to drop him.
Smith got to his feet with weak legs, and Beterbiev went for the finish, hammering him with hard shots to put him down a second time. This time, Smith was badly hurt.
His trainer, Buddy McGirt, wisely stepped into the ring to have the fight stopped. The time of the stoppage was at 2:00 of round seven.
Boxing247 will be giving live boxing updates & results below.
– In the chief support bout, undefeated super middleweight Christian Mbilli (26-0, 22 KOs) stopped Rohan Murdock (27-3, 19 KOs) in the sixth round. The fight was stopped by Murdock’s corner after the end of the sixth.
Mbilli, 28, was hitting the easy-to-hit Murdock with punch after punch throughout the one-sided fight. Murdoc was hurt in the fifth round by repeated headshots from Mbilli, but he somehow made it out of the round.
In round six, Murdock showed new life, hitting Mbilli with some nice shots, bloodying his nose, and doing well until the final seconds. Mbilli then came on strong, tagging Murdock with massive shots that had him looking out on his feet.
After the fight, Mbilli called out undisputed champion Canelo Alvarez, saying he wanted to fight him next.
– In a razor-close fight, WBO bantamweight champion Jason “Mayhem” Moloney (27-2, 19 KOs) won a twelve round majority decision over the hard-hitting Saul Sanchez (20-3, 12 KOs) in a battle that could have gone the other way.
The two fighters exchanged power shots for the full twelve rounds, with the 33-year-old Moloney doing enough to impress two of the judges to get the victory by the scores 114-114, 116-112, and 116-112.
Sanchez had Moloney hurt with uppercuts in four of the final six rounds, and fought well enough to deserve the victory.
The judges were more impressed with Moloney’s lighter punches, even though he was outlanded and out-punched by the younger, stronger Sanchez. A rematch would make sense because the fight was an exciting one and the fans weren’t happy with the results, as they booed loudly.
IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) defends tonight against the dangerous puncher, WBC mandatory, Callum Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) in a fight that has knockout written all over it at the Quebec City, Canada. The main portion of the card begins at 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. Prelim starts at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
Smith’s Dilemma: Box or Brawl?
“He can box from the outside, but man can he punch, and he likes to punch, and he likes to fight,” said Chris Algieri to ProBox TV, talking about Callum Smith. “He chooses to fight because he can. I don’t think that’s going to aid him in this fight.
“I think fighting on the outside is the way to be. He’s got to do damage [to Beterbiev] on the way in. So, Beterbiev has got to do the opposite. He’s got to make sure there’s no damage on the way in.
“He’s got to be able to get through that hailstorm to the middle distance to get to where he likes to be, which is on the inside with his guy with his back against the ropes,” Algieri said about Beterbiev. “There, I don’t think anybody beats him.
“He lets those hands go, and he picks his shots really well. Even when you block shots with a guy like Beterbiev, it doesn’t matter. He’s doing damage. You’re catching flak through the gloves. Your wristbone is hitting your cheekbone.
“You’re getting swelled up because he’s beating you up so much, and he’s hitting, and he hits that hard. He’s got that penetrating power. He’s a good knuckle puncher. I don’t know if any of you guys have seen Beterbiev’s hands in person. It looks like a gnarled root. Both of his hands look like a gnarled root.
“I was in a fighter meeting one time, and I’m looking at this guy. That guy is cut out of different stuff,” Algieri said.
“Have you seen his push-up regimen? He basically turns them into rocks,” said Paulie Malignaggi about how Beterbiev does push-ups with his hands balled into fists and then switches to his wrists touching the floor.
“He’s stoic like a tree. That mindset, those cold eyes. You mentioned that Marcus Browne fight with that cut. He is a cold-blooded assassin, that man,” said Algieri about Beterbiev.
Beterbiev’s Path to Victory: Inside Warfare
“Beterbiev’s keys to victory. He’s got to be able to close range, and I think Callum Smith is going to give him that opportunity,” said Malignaggi. “Callum isn’t really a guy that stays on the outside.
“I worked with Buddy McGirt, and he’s a guy that is going to make you move your head and shoot where you’re at more so that he’s going to give you the ability to move. That could work for Callum. He’s a big puncher.
“He’s got to be careful running into the right hand coming in. Callum has got a long jab, long right hand. I believe Callum is going to have to be busy with that jab in order to keep Beterbiev from walking in that front door.
“Beterbiev, he’s hittable on the way in, so he’s got to be careful. At the same time, I don’t know if Callum is going to be able to catch and shoot the way he wants to all the time. Beterbiev’s power is not the type of power you want to take, even when you’re blocking.
“So, I believe Beterbiev has got to work his way [in]. You can jab with a jabber and use that jab to get inside and then go to the body a lot. He stopped Browne with a body shot. He does hurt you to the body and break you to the head.
The Mental Battlefield
“If you can get Smith into the position where he’s mentally panicking, where he has to feel like he has to fight you off. A lot of guys get to that point with Beterbiev, even when they intend to box. Eventually, he makes you feel like you got to fight him off.
“They can’t sit there boxing. It’s too much stress, it’s too much pressure. ‘He’s cutting me off; he’s in front of me. I’m losing my mind. I got to get this guy off me. I got to do it,’ and he makes you end up. He makes you fall into that trap, and you feel like you want to fight him off.
“If Beterbiev can work his way to the inside and get Smith to that point, now you’re fighting fire with fire at Beterbiev’s range. Obviously, Callum Smith has sneaky uppercuts and whatnot, but this is Beterbiev’s range. This is where Beterbiev hurts you.
“This is where Beterbiev hurts you with every single thing he throws. When he gets to that range, he’s hurting you with every single thing he throws. So, he gets you to that point where you’re already in a mental panic. So now he’s hurting you with everything he throws, and you’re starting to come undone a little bit.
“Of course, you start to come undone when he separates you from your consciousness as well. He hits that hard, and it’s that case as well. So, that’s the building block for Beterbiev as well. You’ve got to work your way in, you got to work behind the jab. He’s technically sound, and he’s got his hands up.
“He’s got to be careful with the right hand with Smith more than anything else because you kind of a little bit straight up walking in. He doesn’t have a lot of head movement on his way in. He’s kind of a high guard kind of guy. He’s got to be careful with that.
“Other than that, working his way in behind his own jab, cutting off the ring. Not that Smith is going to move, but Smith may step here and there. Cut him off everywhere he goes, make him feel like what he [Beterbiev] tends to do, like where anywhere you go, you feel like you can’t get this guy off you.
“You get Smith to feel like he’s got to fight you off, and that’s it. Once you’ve got him there, I think it’s a matter of time before you go,” said Malignaggi.