Bob Arum’s Top Rank wins Artur Beterbiev – Callum Smith purse bid with $2.115M
By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing came up short today, losing out to Bob Arum’s Top Rank on the purse bid for IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev’s title defense against WBC mandatory Callum Smith. Arum came in with a winning bid of $2.115 million, whereas Hearn lost out with a smaller bid of $2.1 million.
Fans had hoped to see Beterbiev fight WBA champion Dmitry Bivol for the undisputed 175-lb championship, but the World Boxing Council ordered Artur to defend against Callum next.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said that if Beterbiev did fight Bivol, he wouldn’t have their title on the line due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Bivol is from Russia and lives in Saint Petersburg.
The Hearn-promoted Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) has his work cut out for him taking on the undefeated Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs), who will be looking to extend his knockout streak to 20. Beterbiev has knocked out everyone he’s faced during his ten-year professional career.
It will be difficult for Beterbiev to knock out the 6’3″ Smith, though, because the Liverpool native tends to go into survival mode when fighting aggressive opponents that take the fight to him.
Instead of trying to win, Callum shells up against the ropes and covers up. He doesn’t throw much back, as he just looks to survive. We saw that in Smith’s fights against Canelo Alvarez and John Ryder. Smith lost to Canelo by a one-sided decision, and Ryder should have beaten him, but he was given what many boxing fans saw as a gift from the judges.
Beterbiev vs. Smith will be shown on ESPN+ at still to be determined date and venue. Had Hearn won the big, the fight would b be shown on DAZN.
Smith has fought just twice since moving up to 175 after his loss to Canelo in December 2021. In his two fights at light heavyweight, Smith beat Lenin Castillo and Mathieu Bauderlique.
Ideally, Smith should have had to beat a talented contender like Joshua Buatsi, Dan Azeez, Padraig McCrory, Joe Smith Jr, or Craig Richards. The WBC kind of made it easy for Callum to earn his mandatory spot, but it doesn’t matter. Those guys would be just as overmatched against Beterbiev as Callum Smith.
Beterbiev looks unbeatable right now, and it will take someone special like Bivol to have a shot at beating him.
@trboxing has won the rights to promote the mandatory light heavyweight fight between champion Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith with $2 115 000 outbidding Matchroom by a mere 15 thousand dollars ! Shawn Palmer was present and Carl Moretti on zoom. pic.twitter.com/LNu9ATFMaX
— World Boxing Council (@WBCBoxing) May 2, 2023
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