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Artur Beterbiev reportedly nearing deal to unify titles with Joe Smith Jr

Beterbiev and Smith are on the verge of a light heavyweight title unification.

Two notoriously big punchers at light heavyweight could soon be squaring off against one another.
Two notoriously big punchers at light heavyweight could soon be squaring off against one another.
Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Some good news for fans of big action and big punchers as ESPN is now reporting that light heavyweight titleholders Artur Beterbiev and Jose Smith Jr. are close to reaching terms for a summer unification fight that would be held in New York. And with Beterbiev currently holding the WBC and IBF titles and Smith the WBO strap, the winner would hold three of the four major world titles and just one short of the coveted ‘undisputed’ title.

Smith (28-3, 22 KOs), most recently insisted that he wanted a bout against Beterbiev following his stoppage win over Steve Geffrard last month after having two other fights against Umar Salamov and Callum Johnson nixed for COVID reasons.

Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) remains the only world titleholder who maintains a 100% knockout percentage and a prospective fight against Smith would surely deliver in that respect one way or another as both fighters are known for their firepower and not so much for their defense. Beterbiev most recently scored a knockout win over Marcus Browne in December to continue his 17-fight destructive streak and could soon be right back in another solid matchup.