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Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr. “almost certain” for December

Beterbiev last fought nine days ago

Artur Beterbiev v Callum Johnson Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

Despite reports that Long Island’s Joe Smith Jr. was likely to face Dmitry Bivol in the coming months, Yvon Michel tells RDS that a fight between Smith Jr. and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev is in the works, with the date and location to be determined. GYM is looking at either December 22nd or December 15th, possibly on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez vs. Rocky Fielding if DAZN manages to secure that fight.

Despite the ambiguity, Michel appears quite confident that the two will duke it out before the end of the year.

If this winds up coming to fruition, that would be a two-month turnaround for the legendarily inactive Beterbiev (13-0, 13 KO), who knocked out Callum Johnson earlier this month in his first fight since November of last year. It would definitely be a welcome change of pace.

Smith Jr. (24-2, 20 KO) is a tough, heavy-handed puncher, and Beterbiev went down for the second time in his career against Johnson before coming back to put him away. He’ll still be a sizable underdog, but this figures to be plenty entertaining while it lasts.

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