Callum Smith of Liverpool will challenge Artur Beterbiev for the unified world light heavyweight titles, live on sky sports in the UK on August 20.
The WBC 175-pound No. 1 Smith will travel to Quebec City in Canada to fight Montreal resident Beterbiev for the WBC, IBF and WBO championships.
Beterbiev is one of boxing’s most formidable punchers with a 100 percent knockout rate. But Smith, a former WBA super middleweight champion, is on a mission to become two-weight world champion.
“Quebec is my second home, so I’m very happy to finally defend my titles at home,” Beterbiev said.
“When you’re a world champion, everyone wants the opportunity to take the belt from you, and that’s especially true of me, with three titles on the line. I have already started my training camp and I will be ready to not only defend my belts, but also put on an impressive show on August 19. [local time].”
But Smith cautioned: “I’m no stranger to fighting on foreign soil, having boxed in Saudi Arabia twice, all over the United States, and now I’m heading to Canada on August 19. I didn’t hesitate to go to Canada to fight Artur Beterbiev, and I will return to Liverpool as world champion once again.
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“I’m excited to finally have my chance to become a two-weight world champion.”
Smith took over the super middleweight division when he knocked out George Groves in 2018 to win the WBA championship and the World Boxing Super Series.
He beat John Ryder but lost his title in a unification clash with Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez.
Subsequently, Smith moved up to light heavyweight and won both of his fights in the new division with very impressive knockout finishes, most recently against Mathieu Bauderlique.
However, Beterbiev has stopped every professional opponent he has faced. The two-time Olympian and amateur world champion has lived in Montreal since he turned pro a decade ago.
He has made seven world title defenses since ousting Enrico Koelling for the vacant IBF title in November 2017, including a shootout with Britain’s Callum Johnson, Smith’s then-gym partner.
Beterbiev took the WBC strap with a stirring 2019 knockout of Oleksandr Gvozdyk, then added the WBO title to his collection with last year’s second-round blowout of Joe Smith Jr.
He only fought once in Canada as a world champion, overcoming a terrible cut to secure a ninth-round TKO of Marcus Browne in December 2021.
Beterbiev followed Joe Smith’s triumph with January’s thrilling eighth-round knockout of Anthony Yarde in the latter’s hometown of London.
“The legend of the sport’s most fearsome puncher, Artur Beterbiev, continues on August 19 in beautiful Quebec City for a fight that can’t help but be a light heavyweight championship classic,” said Top Rank President Bob Arum. .
But he added: “Callum Smith is a deserving mandatory challenger who will not be intimidated by fighting in Artur’s territory.”
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