What to watch for when Artur Beterbiev faces Joe Smith Jr. to unify three world light heavyweight titles
When Joe Smith Jr. narrowly defeated Maxim Vlasov in April 2021 to win the WBO light heavyweight title, a unification bout with WBC and IBF titleholder Artur Beterbiev instantly became a can't-miss matchup.
🔴ʟɪᴠᴇ🔴🏆░▒▓█► ᴀʀᴛᴜʀ ʙᴇᴛᴇʀʙɪᴇᴠ ᴠꜱ ᴊᴏᴇ ꜱᴍɪᴛʜ ᴊʀ. ʟɪᴠᴇ ᴏɴʟɪɴᴇ
🔴ɢᴏ ʟɪᴠᴇ🔴🏆░▒▓█► ᴀʀᴛᴜʀ ʙᴇᴛᴇʀʙɪᴇᴠ ᴠꜱ ᴊᴏᴇ ꜱᴍɪᴛʜ ᴊʀ. ʟɪᴠᴇ ᴏɴʟɪɴᴇ
Two of the biggest punchers in boxing will meet on Saturday at New York's Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden (10 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+ with prelims on ESPN+ at 6:30 p.m. ET) in what shapes up as an explosive action fight for as long as it lasts. Beterbiev, boxing's only champion with a 100% KO percentage, is an 8-1 favorite, according to Caesars Sportsbook, and with good reason.
Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs), of Russia, is consistently on the cusp of the pound-for-pound list -- if not in the top 10. He is a precise puncher who knows just where and when to place his shots, and has the engine to carry that power into the later rounds.
Never was that more on display than against Oleksandr Gvozdyk in October 2019, a title unification Beterbiev won via 10th-round TKO after he floored his foe three times.
But Beterbiev is 37 and showed vulnerability when he was knocked down by Callum Johnson in a 2018 fight. And he's been inactive, competing only twice since he defeated Gvozdyk. And during that time, Smith (28-3, 22 KOs) has shown vast improvement.
Whoever emerges with his hand raised Saturday will be just one title short of becoming the undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world. The other belt, of course, is owned by Bivol, who upset boxing's top star, Alvarez, in May.
Bivol-Alvarez wasn't all that close, despite the scorecards, and Alvarez wisely decided to fight Gennadiy Golovkin on Sept. 17 instead of a rematch with Bivol.
It wouldn't be a surprise if Alvarez pursued a second fight with Bivol next year. If he does, a bout matching the winner vs. Beterbiev (assuming he beats Smith) immediately becomes one of the biggest fights in boxing.
Even if Alvarez doesn't return to 175 pounds, a fight between Bivol and Beterbiev is a mouth-watering matchup featuring two of the finest boxers in the world.
Bivol's manager, Vadim Kornilov, said in May that a fight between Bivol and Beterbiev was being discussed before he landed the Alvarez matchup. There's no reason it couldn't be revisited.
Both Beterbiev and Bivol, of Kyrgyzstan, mesh well style-wise, too. Bivol likes to box from the outside and use his masterful jab, but he showed against Alvarez that he can string punches together, too. Beterbiev prefers to apply pressure in a seek-and-destroy style that is far more crowd-pleasing. And he, too, owns an excellent jab.
Weigh-in results and video: Artur Beterbiev (175) vs. Joe Smith Jr (174.6) is official
The WBC, WBO, and IBF light heavyweight titles will be on the line Saturday night.
Undefeated WBC and IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (!7-0, 17 KOs) and WBO champion Joe Smith Jr (28-3, 22 KOs) were both either at or under the 175 lbs limit for Saturday night’s title unification matchup in Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. Beterbiev came in at 175 lbs on the nose, whereas New York’s Smith Jr was slightly under at 174.6 lbs.
No drama, no need for a lot of histrionics, just a fight that figures to be all-action and unlikely to go the distance. There weren’t any weight issues on the undercard either, so we’re all set for Saturday!
Bob Arum Says Beterbiev Vs. Anthony Yarde Agreed For Fall In London If Artur Defeats Joe Smith Jr Tonight
By Charles Brun: Promoter Bob Arum says Artur Beterbiev has already agreed to travel to London, England to defend his light heavyweight titles against WBO mandatory Anthony Yarde in October, should he defeat World Boxing Organization 175-lb champion Joe Smith Jr. tonight.
Boxing fans want to see the Beterbiev-Smith winner fight WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol for the undisputed championship rather than watching them destroy the badly flawed Yarde, who is an easy mark for either champ.
Yarde is a poor fighter who is arguably not even the second-best light heavyweight in the UK. Joshua Buatsi is a far better fighter than Yarde, and Craig Richards is superior to him in Charles Brun’s book.
It’s not all that surprising that Arum isn’t eager to let the Beterbiev vs. Smith Jr. winner face Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) because he already beat Joe Smith Jr. in 2019, and he’s a wrong style match-up for Beterbiev, who isn’t quick on his feet and doesn’t throw combinations.
Beterbiev vs Smith: Live streaming results, round by round, how to watch, start time for main event, undercard lineup, more
Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr will unify three 175 lb titles on ESPN tonight!
Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr are set to unify a trio of light heavyweight titles tonight on ESPN, in what promises to be a hard-hitting main event.
In the night’s co-feature, Robeisy Ramirez will face Abraham Nova in a good featherweight matchup set for 10 rounds, and there will also be prelims on ESPN+ featuring notable Top Rank prospects Jahi Tucker, Troy Isley, Bruce Carrington, Floyd Diaz, and more.
Wil Esco will be on the round by round call for the main card fights starting at 10 pm ET, and I’ll be in here from 6 pm or 6:30 pm ET for the prelims with highlights and results, all of that in this stream:
Artur Beterbiev vs Joe Smith Jr live stream and how to watch the world light-heavyweight unification fight for free, full card, start time
Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr square off at Madison Square Garden for the WBC, IBF and WBO world titles
Three of the four world light-heavyweight belts are on the line today as Artur Beterbiev puts his WBC and IBF straps against WBO champion Joe Smith Jr at the world-famous Madison Square Garden. Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) is the knockout artist, while Smith Jr (28-3, 22 KOs) has the pedigree of more famous names on his CV and has the home crowd with him in what promises to be a fascinating clash of styles.
Ring walks are expected at approximately 11 pm ET / 4 am BST (Sunday morning). The fight is available on standard cable and satellite channels in the US, UK and Australia, including a free streaming option. Make sure you know how to get a Beterbiev vs Smith Jr live stream from wherever you are.
Artur Beterbiev is a contender for one of the biggest knockout artists in world boxing today. The 37-year-old Russian, who now lives in Canada, has stopped every one of his 17 opponents so far in an impressive professional career in which he has held a version of the world title since 2014. A brilliant amateur who fought at the 2008 Olympics – losing controversially to home favourite and eventual gold medallist Zhang Xiaoping – Beterbiev has evolved his front-foot pressure style into an aggressive one-punch philosophy which is yet to miss its mark.
Joe Smith Jr may be the big underdog coming into the fight, but the Long Island native will certainly have the benefit of the home turf in his back pocked as he looks to add Beterbiev's WBC and IBF belts to his own WBO strap he picked up in a controversial April 2020 decision against Maxim Vlasov.
The Irish Bomber packs a strong right hand, one which was good enough to defeat former two-weight world champion Bernard Hopkins earlier in his career. He hasn't quite managed to live with the elite, however, and lost to Dmitry Bivol in March 2019.
The fight takes place over 12 rounds in the light-heavyweight division at the world-famous Madison Square Garden, New York, United States. Boxing fans will be treated to a packed card featuring two-time Olympic gold medallist Cuban Robeisy Ramirez vs Abraham Nova over 10 rounds in the featherweight, plus a handful of local up-and-coming prospects as yet awaiting opponents including Bruce Carrington and Jahi Tucker.
Fans in the US can enjoy the fight tonight (Sunday morning in the UK and Australia). Make sure you know how to watch a Beterbiev vs Smith Jr live stream from where you are.
Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr. Live Stream: How to Watch the Boxing Fight Online
Three titles are on the line tonight as Beterbiev and Smith Jr. enter the ring — here’s how to watch the fight live online
Two heavy-hitting World Champion boxers — Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr. — are facing off tonight to unify the WBC, IBF, and WBO light-heavyweight titles.
Both fighters are title holders with a knack for knockouts, and fans are expecting an exciting fight. If you count yourself among them, read on: Below is everything you need to know about the big fight, including where to watch Beterbiev vs. Smith on TV and how to live stream Beterbiev vs. Smith online.
The Beterbiev vs. Smith fight is happening tonight, June 18, with the undercard starting at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT, and the main event starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. The two boxers will be facing off live from the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, New York City.
If you’re wondering which channel will have Beterbiev vs. Smith, the answer is ESPN. However, ESPN will only be broadcasting the main event on live TV. The undercard will stream exclusively on ESPN’s streaming service, ESPN+ (more information on ESPN+ below).
If you don’t have cable, you’re in luck: There are several ways to stream Beterbiev vs. Smith online without cable, and even a couple ways to watch Beterbiev vs. Smith for free online.