Artur Asilbekovich Beterbiev (Chechen: Бетербиев Асильбекан Артур; Russian: Артур Асильбекович Бетербиев; born 21 January 1985) is a Russian and Canadian professional boxer.He is a unified light heavyweight champion, having held the IBF title since 2017, the WBC title since 2019 and the WBO title since 2022.
Callum John Smith (born 23 April 1990) is an English professional boxer. He held the WBA (Super) and Ring magazine super-middleweight titles from 2018 to 2020. At regional level, he held the British and European super-middleweight titles between 2015 and 2017. In 2018 he won the World Boxing Super Series super-middleweight tournament, winning the Muhammad Ali trophy in the process.
Unified light heavyweight champion
After Beterbiev defeated Radivoje Kalajdzic (24-1) by KO in May 2019, Top Rank set to work on a unification fight between Beterbiev and WBC and lineal light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-0) for some time in Autumn 2019 on ESPN.
The winner of Beterbiev vs. Gvozdyk would hold two of the four world titles at 175, and set up further unification matches. In July it was announced that the fight would be on 18 October, at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.Beterbiev won the fight by 10th round TKO.
Beterbiev was originally scheduled to fight Meng Fanlong on March 28, 2020, but the fight was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic. Because Meng could not fight in Russia in a rescheduled fight and return to China or the United States due to visa issues, Beterbiev chose to make an optional defense against IBF #5 ranked, Adam Deines.On 20 March 2021, Beterbiev stopped Deines in the tenth round with a vicious left hook, handing him his first KO defeat in his professional career.
Beterbiev vs. Browne
On 20 August 2021, Beterbiev was ordered by the WBC to make a mandatory title defense against Marcus Browne. The two camps failed to come to terms during the allowed negotiation period,which prompted the WBC to call for a purse bid, which was won by Beterbiev’s Top Rank, who offered $1 005 000 for the rights to promote the fight, while their bidding rivals TGB Promotions offered $1 000 001.
Beterbiev’s second unified title defense was booked for 17 December 2021, and took place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Beterbiev began to take over the bout from the fourth round onward, during which he suffered a bad cut from an accidental clash of heads, and won the fight by a ninth-round technical knockout.
World Boxing Super Series
Main article: 2017–18 World Boxing Super Series – super middleweight division
On 16 January 2017 the WBC ordered negotiations to begin for a fight between Smith and WBC champion Badou Jack (20–1–3, 12 KOs).
This ruled out a potential unification rematch James DeGale was pursuing, although Jack also stated he planned on moving up to light-heavyweight.On 18 January, Jack officially vacated his WBC belt in order to move up to the light-heavyweight division. This meant that former champion Anthony Dirrell would next be in line for a world title fight.
At the purse bid on 5 March, Ten Goose Boxing, on behalf of Al Haymon won with a bid of $1.6 million to control promotional rights of the fight. It was reported that Matchroom Sport, who promote Smith put in a bid of $1.2 million.
Trainer Joe Gallagher confirmed the fight would take place on 9 September 2017 in Los Angeles.On 30 June, it was reported that the Dirrell camp were trying to move the location of the fight to Flint, Michigan, Dirrell’s hometown. Eddie Hearn stated there was nothing in the contracts about allowing the date or venue to change, and they would stand firm on the fight taking place in Los Angeles.
Hearn had hoped that Dirrell would join the World Boxing Super Series, so the fight could take place in the quarter-finals, but Dirrell had already refused to enter, meaning Smith would not enter either.
On 6 July 2017, it was confirmed that Smith had joined the inaugural World Boxing Super Series, where the winner would receive a prize money and the Muhammad Ali Trophy. Due to being WBC’s number 1 ranked contender at super-middleweight, the WBC had said Smith would fight for their Diamond belt in the quarter-finals. Others in the tournament included WBA champion George Groves, Jürgen Brähmer and undefeated contenders Erik Skoglund and Jamie Cox.