It’s official: Artur Beterbiev will face Joe Smith Jr on Dec. 15, with the IBF light heavyweight title fight added to the Canelo-Fielding show streaming live on DAZN from New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Beterbiev (13-0, 13 KO) will be defending his title again, just a little over two months after a KO-4 victory over Callum Johnson in Chicago, also on DAZN. It was an all-action fight, as was promised, and this one has some of that same shootout potential. The 33-year-old Beterbiev has been a bit inconsistent about actually stepping into the ring, fighting just twice since 2016, but this is a sign that those days are probably behind him, with the DAZN deal in place and the fights flowing through that outlet. He’s looking ready to stay busy and active.
Smith (24-2, 20 KO) is a solid challenger, a 29-year-old from Long Island who will probably wind up most famous as the man who knocked Bernard Hopkins out of the ring and out of boxing completely. Like, even if he won this fight and defended the title proudly, that’d still probably wind up being the thing people most talk about in the years to come. He’s got very good power and is a legitimate threat, even as the underdog here.
All in all, I’d call it a nice addition to the card.