Beterbiev-Smith confirmed for June 18

Three belts and light heavyweight supremacy will be at stake when WBC/IBF world champion Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) meets WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. (28-3, 22 KOs) in a highly anticipated unification showdown on June 18 in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Beterbiev, boxing’s only world champion with a 100 percent knockout rate, hopes to pick up another strap against “Cinderella Man” Smith, a Long Island native who grew up about 70 miles from Madison Square Garden.

Artur Beterbiev: “I look forward to the challenge ahead of me. Joe Smith Jr. is a worthy champion, but I am coming to Madison Square Garden to add another world title to my collection. This fight will get me one step closer to becoming undisputed champion.”

Joe Smith Jr: “I am extremely excited and focused on this task I have ahead. Facing Beterbiev is huge. It is going to be a fight that fans remember forever, with two of the biggest punchers in boxing today facing off. This opportunity is a dream of mine to accomplish. Fighting with three titles on the line is one step closer to becoming undisputed.”

In the 10-round featherweight co-feature, two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Robeisy “El Tren” Ramirez (9-1, 5 KOs) will battle the unbeaten Abraham “El Super” Nova (21-0, 15 KOs). Beterbiev-Smith and Ramirez-Nova will be broadcast live on ESPN.

The undercard will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+

In six-round bouts, featherweight Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (3-0, 2 KOs) and welterweight Jahi Tucker (7-0, 4 KOs) hope to extend their unbeaten records. U.S. Olympian Troy Isley (5-0, 3 KOs), fresh off his knockout win on the Oscar Valdez-Shakur Stevenson undercard, returns in a six-round middleweight bout. Featherweight Kurt Walker (2-0, 1 KO) and junior middleweight Kieran Molloy (1-0, 1 KO) will make their respective U.S. debuts.

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  • Great Matchup!!! Looking forward to seeing this more than Canelo-Bivol!!

  • Beterbiev will have the edge in this fight due to his high work rate forcing Smith to continually fight. Smith fights better when he goes at his own pace. When Bivol fought Smith, Bivol did a good job keeping Smith in the center of the ring and honest where he could not get into his own rhythm. Smith loves to stalk and hunt fighters down. Bivol executed that fight rightfully by following that gameplan. Beterbiev will keep Smith backing up on his heels forcing him out of his gameplan. Beterbiev UD.
    On a side note, Smith deserves credit in my opinion for an exceptional KO of Hopkins back in 2016. One of my favorite performances of Smith and Hopkins gave tons of excuses all while the camera replay demonstrated Smith’s KO power and arsenal work in the fight.

    • KO a credit for KO 50 year old Hopkins? You lost all boxing credibility.

      • Even at 50, Hopkins still dangerous and could fight. Besides, Hopkins signed the contract with a right mind thinking he could be Smith. Guess the joke was on Hopkins, right?

        • Something have to be said in here Scooby and is that Smith was a cherry pick gone wrong. Before the fight Hopkins was boasting about his achievements and that at 50 he could beat any one and Smith kayoed and sent him into retirement, and that enlarged his victory to the point to be well a known fighter

          • Burucho, good point. Hopkins is a good fighter no matter the scenario. However, Smith was the wrong guy for Hopkins. Hopkins was really working hard in that fight to keep the younger fighter off him and time took its toll.

    • Exceptional ko of an old old man? A year or two earlier Smith wouldn’t have won a round

    • I want Canelo to fight Beterbiev if he get 3 belts let what Canelo do when not if but when he get the belt this Saturday

      • Canelo got beat by Bivol but he will be busted up badly by Betterbiev.

        Canelo has a slim chance in Bivol rematch but no chance against the Chechen beast.

        Betterbiev Is a beast who starts slow and is very patient and Canelo may not have the firepower to fight back anyway.

        I think Betterbiev woulda beaten prime Kovalev and Prime Stevenson as well

    • I agree with most of what you said scoob except I don’t see smith making it to the final bell. He’s too open for AB short power shots and constant pressure. Don’t get me wrong he’s got that right hand equalizer but unless he hits a home run I’ll be surprised if he goes the distance.

      • Christian, thank you for your input. Yes, it is very possible Smith may not make it to the end. Your point is not out of focus, but very possible.

  • Hopkins was 51, champ. Belfort banged out Evander Holyfield as well. We get it, you don’t like Hopkins. Carry on…

    • Hopkins is one of the best fighters to ever lace them up
      Sucks getting old
      I respect just as much as any other fighter

      He ate clean, never ballooned up didn’t party took boxing serious!

      Remember he lost his 1st ever pro fight

  • I don’t think anyone blames Canelo for DUCKING Beterbiev, the man is scary!

    • They know why they stay away from him lol! He’s one of the toughest and hardest punchers in boxing ever..

  • You def wanna get an early look at Jahi Tucker and Carrington. Its hard to be a Boxing fan and not be a fan of either Beterbiev or Smith. Smith came a long way to headline The Garden. I would like to see my countryman keep the titles home.

  • For all the Joe Smith haters out there, look what the guys doing! Nothing but Respect from me and good luck this is gonna be a great fight.

  • If you cant see the intent of Canelos managers and camp then well…………you have little insight. I give him full credit for taking on Bivol in his prime. Then GGG one more time. My point the biggest threat Beterviev is out there marinating into an older fighter just like Kovalev after a tough fight and essentially a shadow of himself. GGG avoided until already in his mid thirties. He has to fight the winner of Beterbiev and Smith to unify. Lets hope the fight everyone really wants a brawler/boxer who takes chances at all costs has a BIG punch has something left. When a year? 3 years from now. Or Gilberto Ramirez a very viable opponent. Hes a Klitchko or Tyson in an era devoid of truly top fighters, but the best at this time. Hagler? Monzon? Bob FosterHeans? Sugar ray Leonard? Sam Langford? Graziano? Hopkins? Roy Jones? The list is endless. But give him his due. Now is now then is then.

  • Smith doesn’t have the arsenal to threat Beterbiev and deter him from his normal aggressive approach. I see good exchanges the first half of the fight, but then Smith will be showing the effects of Betebiev power, fading badly until the fight gets stopped around 10th or 11th.

  • After reading about Joe Smith who I knew nothing about and Bivols win over him Canelo has a real problem appearing in front of him.

  • it is so irritating to read keyboard warriors , who never laced a glove yet feel entitled to dis smith or Beterbiev
    Remember , boxing is primarily business, if Smith had an opportunity to box Hopkins, he will take it and win if he can, How can anyone critisise him for doing that?
    The best of luck to these two genuine warriors, i personally favour Smith, keep it real , know our place, life is beautiful, except for when it is not

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