Light heavyweight world champion Artur Betterbev knocked out American rival Joe Smith Jr. in two rounds on Saturday to add WBO titles to his WBC and IBF belts.
The unbeaten 37-year-old Canadian-based Russian scored three knockdowns and left Smith in deep trouble with just one minute left in round two before the fight stopped.
Betterbiv has improved 18-0 – through all knockouts – and can now focus on a possible consolidation fight for the undisputed light heavyweight crown against Russia’s WBA champion Dmitry Bevol.
Flawless victory 6
– ESPN Ringside (ESPNRingside) June 19, 2022
“Joe was a bit open-minded, and it was easier for me to find him,” Betterbiv said later, before focusing on the possibility of a fight with Bivol.
“I’ve had two integration fights and the integration fight is more interesting,” Betterbive said.
“I like to be united. I want to be undisputed. “
Smith, who was taken to hospital immediately after the bout and did not speak to the media, has already fallen to 28-4 after the fourth defeat of his career.
The 32-year-old American underdog, who also has 22 knockouts on record, started aggressively but was quickly overwhelmed by his hard-hitting and skilled opponents.
Betterbive rocked Smith in the first round, connecting with a series of overhand rights.
He was an American on canvas in the early days of being ruled as a slip instead of a knockdown.
But it didn’t take long for him to wait for the first valid knockdown of the competition, again forcing right-wing clubbing Smith to make a permanent count at the end of the first.
Similarly after starting the second round, the only question was how long Smith could stay.
Betterbive scored two more knockdown goals early in the round, sending Smith through the ropes with an almost mischievous shot.
He then unveiled a deadly combination of left uppercuts and a right to further shake Smith’s sensation, with referee Harvey Dock having no choice but to shut it down.
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