Beterbiev’s Dominance Points to Bivol Clash: Hearn Expects Undisputed Showdown

By Robert Segal - 01/14/2024 - Comments

Promoter Eddie Hearn expects the undisputed light heavyweight championship between Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev will happen next following Beterbiev’s victory over Callum Smith last night at Centre Videotron in Quebec City.

Hearn says WBA champ Bivol “can do it” against IBF, WBC & WBO champion Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs), but he admits that Artur has improved since his battle against Callum Johnson in 2018.

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Eddie was surprised at how Beterbiev took apart his fighter, Smith (29-2, 21 KOs), last night, dropping him twice in the seventh round to score a technical knockout victory.

Hearn felt that Smith would win, but he says he was “a lot better” than he’d been six years ago when he fought Callum Johnson in a four-round war in Chicago and was badly hurt in the second round of that contest. He says despite Artur getting older now, his victory over Smith was his “best performance’ in his mind.

Hearn: Beterbiev has improved

“I truly believed Callum Smith would win tonight, and I truly believe Bivol would win, but seeing Beterbiev up close, that’s the second time seeing him up close. He’s actually a lot better than he was against Callum Johnson [in October 2018],” said Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn to Boxing News, reacting to IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev’s seventh-round TKO victory over Callum Smith.

Callum looked awkward and unskilled compared to Beterbiev, but his power was lethal. The shots that Smith was throwing with his left had KO potential, all of them.

Even when Smith was hurt in the seventh, he threw a couple of shots that could have given Beterbiev woes if they’d landed. You can understand why Hearn thought that Smith would win because his power is unreal, but he didn’t throw enough and couldn’t stand up to the short punches that Beterbiev was hitting him with.

“I think he’s improved a lot,” Hearn continued about Beterbiev. “I know he’s getting older [will turn 39 on January 21st], and you hope that he’s slowing down, but actually, I thought that was one of his best performances.

Bivol “Can Do it” Against Beterbiev

“Dmitry Bivol has tremendous movement, but you’ve got to make a dent. It’s very difficult to outbox him [Beterbiev] for twelve rounds,” Hearn said. “He’s going to wear you down, he’s going to force the pressure, and like I said, the shots on the back of the head, the shots on the ears, they really hurt. I think Dmitry can do it, but it’s the only fight for both guys now.”

Beterbiev will likely be the favorite against Bivol, given Dmitry’s recent performance against Lyndon Arthur on the ‘Day of Reckoning’ card on December 23rd. Lyndon had Bivol hurt and looking scared in the later rounds of that fight.

Bivol appeared uncomfortable with dealing with the small amount of pressure that Lyndon put him under, and that could be a product of having too many fights against one-dimensional fighters that Dmitry was able to have his way.

Beterbiev will be on Bivol, attacking him relentlessly, and he could fall apart the way that Callum did. Hopefully, the Beterbiev vs. Bivol undisputed clash lives up to the billing, as it might not.

At least with Smith, he had the power to keep Beterbiev honest at times until the seventh round. Bivol is just a combination puncher who uses in-and-out movement to keep from getting roasted.

“From our side, we’ve already done the deal. We’ve done the deal with His Excellency, and it’s over to His Excellency to do the deal with Artur Beterbiev. So, that’s the fight that we expect next,” said Hearn about the undisputed light heavyweight championship between Beterbiev & WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.

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