Friday, March 24, 2023  |


Artur Beterbiev, Joe Smith Jr. agree to light heavyweight title fight in February on DAZN

Photo / @TRboxing

Artur Beterbiev was slated to defend his light heavyweight title against Joe Smith Jr. on Saturday on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding, but the fight was cancelled.

Beterbiev wanted more time to prepare after scoring a fourth-round knockout of Callum Johnson in October. Now, the fight has been rescheduled. Beterbiev and Smith have agreed to a deal for a fight on February 22 or February 23, sources told The Ring. The fight will be streamed on DAZN, and will likely land at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, New York, Smith’s hometown.

Beterbiev (13-0, 13 knockouts) will be seeking to successfully defend his 175-pound belt for the second time. The 33-year-old Canadian is rated No. 6 by The Ring, and appears on the cusp of a unification fight in one of boxing’s deepest divisions.

He’ll face a fellow dangerous puncher in Smith, The Ring’s No. 9 light heavyweight. Smith (24-2, 20 KOs) rose to prominence with a shocking knockout victory in December 2016 that sent Bernard Hopkins into retirement. Smith was defeated by Sullivan Barrera in his next outing; he suffered a broken jaw during the second round after dropping Barrera in the first.

The 29-year-old underwent surgery, and returned in June with a first-round knockout of journeyman Melvin Russell.

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger