Artur Beterbiev scores three knockdowns and adds the WBO title to his honours
Wow! Artur Beterbiev (now 18-0) continued his destructive path through the light heavyweight division, this time stopping Joe Smith Jr in the second round of their unification battle. Beterbiev came into the contest with a perfect 17 straight wins by stoppage, and defending his WBC and IBF world titles, and Smith Jr was making the second defense of his WBO title respectively.
Smith Jr entered the ring tonight, to the backing from his home crowd, and chants of "USA" rang around the arena. Smith Jr recieved a heros welcome but many knew, as both men have unbelievable punching power, the fight wasnt going to go the full 12 round distance.
Hat tip to The Common Man for never backing down from a challenge ???? pic.twitter.com/6cotJafZua— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) June 19, 2022
Smith Jr started the contest brightly, and was coming forward working behind the jab, but at the end of the first round Beterbiev landed a clubbing blow to the right side, which bounced Smith to a knee and back up again.
Beterbiev landed an uppercut, at the start of the second round in which Smith Jr never recovered from. But whilst hurt, he went out on his shield looking to land a hook of his own, but instead Beterbiev took his time and landed his second knockdown of the contest, following a right hook. It was just a matter of time before Beterbiev stopped the contest. A left uppercut and another right hand sent Smith Jr back wobbling, and the referee stepped in to end the contest.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:19 of the second round, and Beterbiev had added Smith's WBO title to his own to become unified champion holding three of the sanctioning bodies world titles with Dmitry Bivol's WBA title the only one stopping him from being undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world.
In his post fight interview Beterbiev was asked who was next, and his answer was "I want to be undisputed." A lot of talk before the contest was that a deal was almost done for Anthony Yarde to challenge Beterbiev and on this performance, good luck to him.