Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr. winner to fight Anthony Yarde next says Bob Arum

By Boxing News - 06/16/2022 - Comments

By Craig Daly: Bob Arum says the winner of Saturday’s light heavyweight unification fight between Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr. will defend against WBO mandatory Anthony Yarde next, NOT Dmitry Bivol, the WBA 175-lb champion.

This isn’t the first time the Top Rank promoter Arum has rejected the idea of the Beterbiev vs. Smith winner facing the unbeaten Bivol for the undisputed championship at 175.

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Last month, Arum ruled out the possibility of Bivol fighting the winner, saying that he fights on a different network, DAZN, than those two who compete on ESPN.

Bivol already beat Joe Smith Jr. in a one-sided fight in 2019, which is another reason Arum might not be so eager to let the WBA champion anywhere near him.

The boxing skills that Bivol possesses make him a tough match-up for Beterbiev or Smith, which could explain why Arum wants no part of making that fight.

This means we’re not going to see an undisputed champion at 175 for some time unless Canelo Alvarez defeats Bivol in their rematch next year.

Arum would be eager to match the Beterbiev-Smith winner against Canelo because the money would be out of this world good, and it wouldn’t matter that the Mexican star fights on DAZN.

IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) fights WBO champion Smith Jr. (28-3, 22 KOs) this Saturday, June 18th, on ESPN and ESPN+ at Madison Square Garden in New York. The fight event begins at 10:00 p.m. ET.

In the co-feature, two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez fights Abraham Nova (21-0, 15 KOs) in a featherweight fight scheduled for ten rounds.

“I can’t wait. One thing I’m pretty sure there will be no playing around, and this will be a real fight. It could very well be the fight of the year,” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum to Upper-Box about Saturday’s match between Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr.

“Beterbiev is the favorite based on his record of 17 fights and 17 knockouts, but Joe Smith is no slouch. He can punch, and he can fight. So, I think it’s more of a toss-up kind of fight.

“No,” said Arum when asked if the Beterbiev vs. Smith winner will face WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol. “The winner, I hope, will arrange to fight the English fighter [Anthony] Yarde, who is the mandatory for the WBO, and who is coming here to watch the Beterbiev-Smith fight,” said Arum.

#1 WBO Yarde (22-2, 21 KOs) has won his last two fights against Lyndon Arthur and Alex Theron to put himself in a position to challenge for a world title against the Beterbiev-Smith winner.

Yarde can punch with much power, but he’s flawed on defense and has shown stamina and chin problems. A past his best former WBO champion Sergey Kovalev knocked out Yarde with a jab in the eleventh round in their fight in August 2019.

There won’t be a lot of interest from U.S boxing fans in seeing the Beterbiev vs. Smith winner fight Yarde, but it’ll play out big in the UK, which is likely where Arum will stage the fight.

It’s a win-win for Arum because Yarde’s chances of upsetting Smith or Beterbiev are low compared to Bivol.

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