The Indomitable Artur Beterbiev now 20 for 20 After Bludgeoning Callum Smith


By Arne K. Lang

There was a raging blizzard outside the Centre Videotron in Quebec City tonight. But Canadians are a hardy breed and the house was full for one of local promoter Camille Estephan’s strongest cards. And there was a storm inside the building as well, a storm of fisticuffs from Artur Beterbiev who was doing his thing once again.

Beterviev's thing is winning inside the distance. None of his opponents make it to the final bell. Tonight, the defending IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion made it 20 for 20 as a pro at the expense of Callum Smith who just did not have the strength to keep the Russian beast off him in an 18-foot ring.

The 33-year-old Smith, the youngest and best of four fighting brothers from Liverpool, was no slouch. He lost a wide decision to Canelo Alvarez in his days as a super middleweight, but was otherwise undefeated in 30 starts and was a big puncher; coming up the ladder he had a string of six straight first-round knockouts. At six-foot-three, he would have a three-and-a-half height and five-inch reach advantage over Beterbiev, the two-time Olympian for Russia who turned pro in Quebec after losing to Oleksandr Usyk in the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Games.

Beterbiev turns 39 next week and there was talk that age was catching up to him. True, he had answered the bell for only 91 rounds as a pro, but with a reported 300-plus amateur fights, he was seemingly on borrowed time. But to the contrary, he was as beastly as ever tonight against Smith who heading in had never been knocked down while answering the bell for 151 rounds.

Smith had swelling above both eyes and was bleeding from his nose heading in to the seventh, a round in which Beterbiev had him on the deck twice from multi-punch combinations delivered at short range with Smith's back against the ropes. This was Smith's third fight with U.S. trainer Buddy McGirt who eventually had seen enough and clambered into the ring, forcing the stoppage. In the abbreviated final round, Beterbiev was credited with landing 20 power punches. The official time was 2:00.

Beterbiev, a consensus 9/2 favorite, was appearing in his ninth world title fight. His next outing figures to come in April or May in Saudi Arabia against Dmitry Bivol who owns the other piece of the 175-pound world title. Bivol had already signed to fight the winner of tonight's fight and it's doubtful that Beterbiev will go in a different direction. What's interesting is that Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs) ranks higher than Beterbiev on most pound-for-pound lists but Beterbiev, despite his advanced age, will almost certainly be chalked the favorite.


In a six-round war, Christian Mbilli got the best of teak-tough but out-gunned Rohan Murdock whose corner pulled him out at the end of six brutal rounds. Ranked #1 at 168 pounds by the WBA and WBC, Mbilli improved to 26-0 with his twenty-first win inside the distance. Murdock, a glutton for punishment, never stopped competing but was well-beaten at the finish.

A native of Cameroon, Mbilli represented France in the 2016 Olympics. He is pursuing a date with Canelo Alvarez and if they eventually meet, he may well be chalked the favorite. It was the third loss in 30 outings for Murdock, a 31-year-old Queenslander who had won 24 of his last 25 heading in.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images
Nice little card Eh ..... esp for a Saturday Night live event so to speak. Guy " the Biever " is almost unbeatable at this point. He took out Smith Jr. he ruined things for good for Gvosdyck and there was a guy who he really destroyed his life over space in the ring Eh ? Chopped him down head first so to speak and never looked fazzed by all the fun inside the ring. Rabbit"s did someone say Rabbits ? There were a few driving the point home no doubt but it was a fight enjoyable while it lasted in a one sided sorta way. Mbilly come on man i get it but lets not take much outta this last fight it was a gift for the effort he put out last time. Murdock has the skill of a take a punch to take another punch kinda guy. But Aussie had to be satisfied and all that. Aussie at 118 oh boy enjoyed that one a lot too, in reality my boy Maloney was looking pretty damn looney tunes by the mid to late round fought hard it was close but you know he knew he was lucky to get that win in the books. Thanks for the write up and the space in time so to speak. Next up ? for "the Biever" is ..........Bivol yea Saudi money speaks again as does birthday number 39 .............

Mbilly he has lots of choices but must step up next time......... Y/N ?

Maloney will take another tough fight any man who goes at in the ring with Inoue is got what it takes to get my attention each time out....