Home Bet on Boxing Artur Beterbiev vs Joe Smith Jr – Big Fight Preview & Predictions

Artur Beterbiev vs Joe Smith Jr – Big Fight Preview & Predictions

Beterbiev-Smith Jr set to unify light heavyweight division in New York

Artur Beterbiev faces Joe Smith in a WBC, IBF and WBO light heavyweight unification showdown in New York on Saturday Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing
Artur Beterbiev faces Joe Smith in a WBC, IBF and WBO light heavyweight unification showdown in New York on Saturday Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing

75% of the light heavyweight division is set to be ruled by one man by the end of Saturday evening at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, as WBC and IBF champion, Artur Beterbiev, faces off with WBO boss, Joe Smith Jr in a fantastic looking unification clash.

Top Rank promote, with Sky Sports televising Beterbiev vs Smith Jr in the UK, and ESPN taking the US rights.

Further superb looking fights are available to the winner, with WBA ‘super’ champion, Dimitry Bivol, seeing his stock rise to an all-time high with victory over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez last month.

Beterbiev (17-0, KO17) is yet to hear the final bell in any of his contests as a professional, and has improved with each appearance.

His longest bout came when he first became world champion, scoring a 12th round knockout of Enrico Koelling when way ahead on the cards to win the vacant IBF title in November 2017.

Artur Beterbiev holds the WBC and IBF light heavyweight belts Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Artur Beterbiev holds the WBC and IBF light heavyweight belts Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Two defences followed, including having to get off the floor to halt Callum Johnson, and the Russian-born, Canadian then unified, taking the WBC belt in a thrilling tenth round stoppage of Oleksandr Gvozdyk when behind on two scorecards.

2021 saw two defences of the dual crowns, a 10th round stoppage of Adam Deines, and his last outing was a ninth round stoppage of Marcus Browne in December.

In Smith Jr (28-3, 22 KOs), the 37-year-old will meet a man not afraid to come forward.

Joe Smith Jr holds the WBO world title Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Joe Smith Jr holds the WBO world title Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

The New Yorker first came to the fore in 2016, when he stopped Andrzej Fonfara in a round, before finally bringing the curtain down on the great Bernard Hopkins’ career in an eighth round knockout win.

The 32-year-old would then suffer two defeats in three fights, to Sullivan Barrera in 2017 (UD10), and to the aforementioned Bivol in a WBA title challenge in 2019, also on the cards, but he would ascend to world champion status in April last year.

Smith Jr took the vacant WBO bauble with a majority win over Maxim Vlasov, and his first defence came in January, knocking out Steve Geffrard in nine.

Prediction: Beterbiev is a tough nights’ work for anyone, but Smith Jr has plenty of heart and won’t take a backwards step. I favour Beterbiev to be just too big and strong for the American though, and can take a stoppage win in the later rounds.

Ramirez faces Nova

Amateur standout, Robeisey Ramirez (9-1, 5 KOs) is in action on this card, and the Cuban double Olympic Champion takes on the undefeated Abraham Nova over ten rounds at featherweight.

Ramirez (9-1, 5 KOs) lost on debut, but has looked assured since, even avenging the defeat against Adan Gonzalez with a comprehensive points win in the rematch.

Ramirez stopped Donovan in three rounds Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images
Ramirez stopped Donovan in three rounds Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

The 28-year-old was last out in Glasgow in February, stopping Eric Donovan in three rounds, and the meeting with Nova (21-0, 15 KOs) will be a step-up in class.

The New York native has been the ten round distance twice, and is coming off an eighth round knockout win over William Encarnacion in January, but drops down a weight class here.

Prediction: Ramirez can use his boxing skills to take a clear points win.

Nova looks to extend his undefeated record Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images
Nova looks to extend his undefeated record Photo Credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images
Toussaint tackles Byfield

Wendy Toussaint (13-1, 6 KOs) has an eight round assignment, and the super welterweight takes on former British title challenger, Asinia Byfield.

Since losing to Ted Cheeseman in 2018, Byfield (15-4-1, 7 KOs) has travelled Europe firmly in the opponent corner, and won one of his last five contests.

Prediction: Toussaint was stopped by Charles Conwell in 2020, but has one win since, and can take a points victory here.

Remaining Undercard

In six round contests, featherweight prospect, Bruce Carrington (3-0, 2 KOs) can stop Adrian Leyva (3-2-1, 1 KO) inside the distance, and at welterweight, Jahi Tucker (7-0, 4 KOs), may need all six rounds to take the win against D’Andre Smith (11-1, 5 KOs).

Middleweight prospect, Troy Isley (5-0, 3 KOs) can see off Donte Stubbs (6-5, 2 KOs) on the scorecards, and at super welterweight, Jahyae Brown (10-0, 8 KOs) can halt Ireland’s Keane McMahon (7-2, 4 KOs).

 

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In the battle of unbeatens at super bantamweight, Floyd Diaz (4-0, 1 KOs) can take a points win against Daniil Platonovschi (4-0, 2 KOs).

The sole four rounder comes at super welterweight, where Kieran Molloy (1-0, 1 KO) can see off Jonathan Ryan Burrs (4-5, 1 KO) over the distance.

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