Artur Beterbiev brutally demolishes Joe Smith Jr to set up Anthony Yarde clash
Artur Beterbiev has brutally knocked out Joe Smith Jr inside two rounds to inch one step further to becoming undisputed champion.
The Russian-Canadian star was looking to add another belt to his collection, having gone into the clash with the WBC and IBF world titles. Beterbiev was simply a class above Smith Jr from the opening bell and rallied to a sensational stoppage victory after three prior knockdowns.
His domination sent an ominous warning message to Yarde who was ringside watching on. The British star assessed the display afterwards claiming that he was confident of becoming champion despite his new rival's domination. "Right now, that's not looking likely. Beterbiev is coming to London, we are going to make it happen," Yarde told reporters after the event. "I think it's going to be very very exciting, this is what I'm in the sport for.
"It's a lot of money but where I come from, I see it as opportunity to try and make a legacy. Money runs out but legacy lives on forever. The preparation will begin intensely as soon as I get back to London. I'll shock a lot of people. I'm quite confident. "He showed what he is - very strong and a good power puncher. Smith's tactics played into the hands of Beterbiev. He could have gone in with more confidence, more jabs and more footwork.
"The key to beating Beterbiev is to be sharper, quicker, more intelligent and we'll see on fight night. From what I saw today, he's a heavy hitter but he was just swinging shots over the top. As you've seen in boxing time and time again, the punch that hurts the most, is the punch you don't see. To me, they both looked slow."
Beterbiev asserted his dominance from the opening bell unleashing a barrage of right hands to send his opponent on to one knee just before the close of the stanza. Smith Jr survived the onslaught but it continued immediately in the second round, being forced to spring back up from the canvas once again after another powerful right hand found a home.
Do you think Anthony Yarde could beat Artur Beterbiev? Let us know in the comments section below
The powerful display continued with Smith Jr sent crashing into the ropes after a thundering left hand shattered his balance once again in a third knockdown. Beterbiev fired away uppercuts after the ten count which gave the referee no option but to close the show with 41 seconds left in just the second period.
After claiming his third title, the undefeated star instead called for a shot at all the marbles against native counterpart Dmitry Bivol. "You know I have two unification fights and they are more interesting so I want to be undisputed next," Beterbiev declared following his victory. "I wanted to be a good boxer today. That's why I was a little bit better than I was in the past.