Joe Smith Jr. vs Artur Beterbiev Preview June 18th, 2022
WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Joe Smith Jr. of Long Island, New York will be taking on Unbeaten WBC and IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Artur Beterbiev of Russia this Saturday, June 18th. The 12-round battle from the Theater at New York City’s Madison Square Garden can be seen live in America on ESPN and ESPN+ while fans in Canada can catch the action on TSN 2 and those in the UK can see it on Sky Sports Action. Beterbiev last fought in December when he stopped Marcus Browne in the ninth round. Smith halted Steven Geffrard in the ninth round in his last outing in January. Smith won the vacant title in April 2021 with a majority decision over Maxim Vlasov while Beterbiev has held is IBF crown since 2017 and the WBC belt since 2019.
Smith Jr. vs Beterbiev Betting Odds
- Joe Smith Jr. +450
- Artur Beterbiev -700
The 32-year-old Smith is a former WBC International and WBO NABA Light Heavyweight Champion who is on a bit of a hot streak with four straight wins over Steve Geffrard, Maxim Vlasov, Eleider Alvarez and Jesse Hart dating back to January, 2020. Those victories were certainly welcomed after Smith dropped two of his previous three bouts via a 10-round unanimous decision to Sullivan Barrera in 2017 and a unanimous decision defeat to Dmitry Bivol in 2019 in a shot at the WBA world title.
Smith of course, made a name for himself and is probably best known for stopping Bernard Hopkins in the eighth round in December, 2016 when he knocked him clean put of the ring in Hopkins’ farewell fight. However, Smith had really made fans take notice after stopping Andrzej Fonfara in the first round six months earlier to be honest. After all his recent action, Smith will climb into the ring this weekend with a mark of 28-3 with 22 Ko’s.
Smith was riding a 17-fight winning streak going before losing to Barrera with seven of his previous eight wins being by stoppage. He’s shown in the past that he sometimes has dynamite in his fists and is carrying around a current knockout ratio of 71 per cent, including stoppages over top-ranked boxers such as Alvarez, Fonfara and Hopkins. Smith stands 6-feet-tall with a 76-inch reach and has fought 144 rounds since turning pro back in 2009.
His first defeat came at the hands of Eddie Caminero by fourth-round TKO in 2010 in Smith’s seventh pro outing. He’s also beaten the likes of Otis Griffin, Michael Gbenga, Tyrell Hendrix, Cory Cummings, and Will Rosinsky. He appears to be a fine knockout artist who throws good combinations and possesses a great right hand. However, he’s a bit inconsistent as he’s 5-2 in his last seven outings.
Beterbiev won the vacant IBF title in 2017 by stopping Enrico Koelling in the 12th round and has defended it against Callum Johnson, Radivoje Kalajdzic, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Adam Deines and Marcus Browne, all by way of stoppage. He alsao won the WBC belt when he beat Gvozdyk. The 37-year-old, who fights out of Montreal, Canada, is a former world amateur champion and Olympian who turned pro in 2013 and has boxed just 81 rounds since.
The reason for this is because he’s knocked out all of his opponents while compiling a perfect record of 17-0 with 17 Kos. This of course means his knockout ratio currently stands at 100 per cent, but he’s disappointed many fans and critics by shying away from the big guns of the light heavyweight division until meeting Gvozdyk and Browne and he’s now attempting to unify three of the light heavyweight titles. Beterbiev’s also beaten the likes of former world champions Gabriel Campillo in 2015 and Tavoris Cloud a year earlier.
Size-wise, Beterbiev isn’t the biggest light heavyweight around as he’s just under 6-feet tall with a reach of 73 inches which means he’s just a half-inch shorter than Smith and has a three-inch reach disadvantage. He obviously has fine boxing skills that were utilized during his amateur career but since turning pro he hasn’t really had the chance to use them. He’s been on a seek and destroy mission over the past few years and has been very successful at it so far.
Beterbiev also has a pretty solid chin but he’s been on the canvas before as Jeff Page Jr. dropped him in the first round in 2014. However he got up and stopped Page the next round after decking him twice. The knock against Beterbiev is that he doesn’t use his jab enough, lacks hand speed and doesn’t move his head much either, which makes him a bit of a sitting duck. But he hasn’t paid for it yet due to his tremendous power. Since turning pro, he’s also won the NABA, WBO International, WBO NABO, and IBF North American Light Heavyweight titles.
Smith has been a bit difficult to predict over the years as he wins fights you expect him to lose and loses those you expect him to win. He’s got good power but since Beterbiev has stopped all 17 opponents we’ve got to give him the edge there. This should be an intriguing fight and since Smith enters it as the betting underdog he may feel more comfortable as he often excels when he’s in that role. I expect this to be a pretty close fight but believe Beterbiev will do enough to win it.
Beterbiev has more power.
Play Beterbiev -700 @ BetOnline.ag
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