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Artur Beterbiev Ordered to Defend Title Against Callum Smith by WBC: Details and Implications

Artur Beterbiev, the reigning lineal, WBC, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion, has been ordered to defend his title against England’s Callum Smith by the WBC. The fight has generated significant interest between their respective promoters, Top Rank and Matchroom Boxing, with the two promotional powerhouses known for one-upping each other. Beterbiev has until April 11 to reach terms with Smith to avoid a purse bid hearing.

Less than two months ago, Beterbiev defended his title against Anthony Yarde, en route to an eighth-round knockout victory. The win satisfied a WBO mandatory, which was previously delayed due to an injury suffered by Beterbiev to postpone original plans for a fight last October 29 in London.

Although demand for an undisputed showdown between Beterbiev and WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol has grown, the WBC has insisted that its mandatory would be next in line. Smith earned the number-one slot following a fourth-round knockout of Mathieu Bauderlique in their WBC title eliminator last August 20 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Plans were initially in place for Smith to take a stay-busy fight atop a March 11 DAZN show in his Liverpool hometown. However, a back injury forced him to withdraw from the fight, which put him on the shelf for roughly 6-8 weeks per medical orders. The timeframe will not stand in the way of the WBC’s deadline to satisfy its mandatory.

Beterbiev first won the IBF light heavyweight title with a November 2017 12th round knockout of Enrico Koelling. The 38-year-old from Montreal by way of Russia has made seven title defenses, including unification knockout wins over lineal/WBC champ Oleksandr Gvozdyk in October 2019 and WBO titlist Joe Smith Jr. last June 18 in New York City.

The fight between Beterbiev and Smith promises to be an exciting encounter with both boxers known for their aggressive fighting styles. Boxing fans around the world will be eagerly anticipating the outcome of this matchup.


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