- Beterbiev has reportedly signed to face fellow Russian Dmitry Bivol this spring
- Australia’s Jason Moloney survived a 12-round battle with Saul Sanchez
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Callum Smith proved to be no challenge for unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs) in Quebec City on Saturday, suffering his first and second career knockdowns before the fight was stopped in the seventh.
The night came to a dramatic conclusion following successive knockdowns when Smith’s trainer, Buddy McGirt, jumped into the ring to stop his fighter from suffering any further damage.
Smith was hoping to become a world champion in a second division after previously holding titles at super middleweight, but the Liverpool native was simply outperformed.
Beterbiev landed 182 punches compared to Smith’s 59, with a significant 87-31 advantage on power punches.
Widely considered to be one of the world’s best boxers, Beterbiev was coming off similarly easy wins over Anthony Yarde, Joe Smith Jr. and Marcus Browne to earn his 20th knockout in 20 career fights. Surprisingly, it was Beterbiev’s first fight in a year, not that he showed any ring rust on Saturday.
Artur Beterbiev (pictured next to promoter Bob Arum) was all smiles after facing Callum Smith
Beterbiev delivers a strong jab to Callum Smith’s face during Saturday’s bout in Quebec City
Russia’s Dmitry Bivol (pictured) is set to face Beterbiev in Saudi Arabia in a unification bout
The 34-year-old Russian-born Canadian citizen could move to fight fellow undefeated Russian Dmitry Bivol in what would be highly anticipated matchup for boxing fans.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said this week that both fighters have signed to meet in April or May in a unification bout in Saudi Arabia.
However, Arum did pump the breaks on the Bivol-Beterbiev talk after Saturday’s bout: ‘It’s not done yet. But absolutely we want to do it. I’ll be talking to my friend His Excellency [Saudi Advisor] Turki Alalshikh. I know he wants to do it, but Ramadan is coming. So, about three months after the end Ramadan we’ll be ready to fight Dmitry Bivol, probably in Riyadh.’
‘Yes, of course [I want the Bivol fight],’ Beterbiev said afterwards. ‘I need another belt. It would mean a lot to me.’
Australia’s Jason Moloney (left) survived a 12-round battle with bantamweight Saul Sanchez
Callum Smith delievers a strong left to Arthur Beterbiev during Saturday’s bout in Quebec City
On the undercard, Australia’s Jason Moloney survived a 12-round battle with Mexican bantamweight Saul Sanchez to defend his WBO title.
Moloney recovered from a slow start for the majority decision in his first defense of the title he won back in May.
The win sets up a likely matchup on the George Kambosos Jr.- Vasily Lomachenko card this May, when the two lightweights will battle for the vacant IBF title.
Moloney could find himself facing IBF bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez, whom he lost to five years earlier.
Another option could be Junto Nakatani, a former flyweight title holder.
And then there is WBA champion Takuma Inoue, the younger brother of Naoya Inou, who beat Moloney in 2020.
Christian Mbilli (left) stayed unbeaten with a sixth-round knockout of Rohan Murdock
In another major bout, Cameroonian-French super middleweight Christian Mbilli stayed unbeaten with a sixth-round knockout of Rohan Murdock.
Mbili then called out Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, who is supposed to fight his mandated challenger David Benavidez for his 168-pound titles, although it’s unclear if that bout will end up happening and when.
‘Tonight, I sent a message,’ Mbilli said afterwards. ‘I am the future of the division. That’s what the message was today.
‘Canelo is the best. Everyone knows that. But now I want to show that I’m the best in the division. My goal is to fight him. I would do anything to fight him.’