Artur Beterbiev handled Callum Smith exactly how Dmitry Bivol expected him to: “I wasn’t surprised how he won”
The long-awaited clash of light-heavyweight titans appears to finally be on the cards, with a summer showdown between Dmitry Bivol (22-0, 11KOs) and Artur Beterbiev (20-0, 20KOs) scheduled for June 1st, reportedly.
Unified titlist Beterbiev recently faced off against challenger Callum Smith, a former world champion who was hoping to flip the 175lbs division on its head and sabotage the promised undisputed clash between Beterbiev and Bivol, two unbeaten rivals who have been on a collision course for years now.
However, it was a stretch too far for Liverpool’s Smith, as his Russian-Canadian counterpart was two steps ahead and levels above him on the night, hardly taking any punishment on his way to stopping the Englishman in the seventh, barely getting out of third gear.
Prior to the world championship contest, many fight fans gave the underdog a good chance of upsetting the odds, even top trainer Shane McGuigan voiced his support for Smith, but in reality it was a complete mismatch.
Reflecting on the bout to Matchroom Boxing, WBA and IBO champion Bivol revealed that he was not shocked by the result at all, “I wasn’t surprised too much to be honest [by Beterbiev’s performance against Smith]. Beterbiev was as good as I expected him to be against Smith. I didn’t see something new. He was powerful as before, and he did his job well.
“I thought he would win. I didn’t have any expectations how he would win. I felt that he should win. I wasn’t surprised how he won. He did his job well.”
Bivol made it clear that he is not downplaying the magnitude of the test in front of him, praising Beterbiev’s ability and acknowledging the tough road that lies ahead.
“To be honest, I believe [Beterbiev is] my hardest test, he’s physically stronger than Canelo Alvarez and he has good technique too. Many people talk about his power, but they forget about his technique because his power is so much better than his technique, but his technique is still good.
“He’s very strong. He’s like a stone. His punches are very hard. His body is hard. He believes in himself a lot. He has a lot of amateur experience. It helps him. He uses body shots well. He’s strong. This is one of the important things.
“I like smart boxing. I want to believe that I’ll show this boxing to the people [against Beterbiev] and it should be better than power or than just speed. I hope these skills should win. I hope I have enough skills to win this fight.
“I need to create as many moments as I can to make him uncomfortable.”
The winner of the prospective 2024 meeting will see them be crowned as the undisputed light-heavyweight champion and the enduring question as to who is the division’s best will finally be answered.