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Artur Beterbiev And Joe Smith Jr. Reportedly Set For June 18th Light Heavyweight Unification

By: Hans Themistode

There can only be room for knockout artist at the top of the 175-pound food chain.

According to Mike Coppinger of ESPN, unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev, along with WBO belt holder Joe Smith Jr., have agreed to terms for a light heavyweight unification showdown. The two will officially attempt to hold three of the four major titles at 175 pounds on June 18th, with Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater leading the charge as a likely destination.

For the New Yorker, Smith Jr. is enjoying his time as a newly belted world champion. After falling flat on his face against Dmitry Bivol in 2019 in his first attempt at a title, Smith Jr. has gone on to win four consecutive bouts. As a result, he proudly wrapped light-heavyweight gold around his waist in 2021.

To stamp his official arrival as a world champion, Smith Jr. pounded Steve Geffrard in his first title defense. The 32-year-old easily got rid of his man in the first month of the new year, stopping him in the ninth round. With the first successful defense of his title, Smith Jr. refused to look at anyone other than Beterbiev. Although a possible showdown against boxing’s premier star, Canelo Alvarez, would net Smith Jr. life-changing money, he believed that a win over Beterbiev would grant him a place in boxing’s annals.

While Smith Jr. will audaciously attempt to test the chin of Beterbiev, he’ll easily face the hardest hitter of his career and one of the most dangerous punchers the sport of boxing has ever seen.

Beterbiev, although 37, has shown no signs of aging. Even more so, his power appears to be as frightening as ever. With each of his victories coming via stoppage, Beterbiev has sadistically punished his opponents. Marcus Browne, a 31-year-old former interim titlist, met Beterbiev’s mind-numbing power at the tail end of 2021.

The two clashed in Beterbiev’s adopted hometown of Montreal, Canada on December 17th, 2021. Despite Browne attempting to hold his ground, his normally durable chin failed him as Beterbiev relentlessly pressured him all night long, resulting in a ninth-round stoppage defeat.

With neither man willing to leave their fate in the hands of the judges, their light heavyweight unification figures to be bombs away from the opening bell.

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