Thursday, June 08, 2023  |



Top Rank wins purse bid to stage Beterbiev-Smith light heavyweight title bout

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28: Artur Beterbiev celebrates after defeating Anthony Yarde, during their WBC,IBF and WBO light heavyweight Championship fight, at OVO Arena Wembley on January 28, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Robison/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Fighters Network

Top Rank has officially won the purse bid to stage the IBF, WBC and WBO light heavyweight title defense of Artur Beterbiev against his WBC mandatory challenger Callum Smith.

The Las Vegas-based promotional powerhouse outpaced Matchroom with by just $15,000 with a bid of $2,115,000.00, as it was announced on May 2.

Beterbiev will collect $1,332,450, while Smith is entitled to $571,050. The remaining $211,500 will go to the winner.

Top Rank have an exclusive deal with ESPN and will televise at a date and venue to be determined.

Beterbiev (19-0, 19 knockouts), The Ring’s No. 2-rated light heavyweight, was a standout amateur, winning gold at the 2009 World Championships and competing at the 2012 Olympics. The physically imposing Russian moved quickly as a professional. He won the IBF light heavyweight title, stopping Enrico Koelling (KO 12) and defended against Callum Johnson (KO 4) and Radivoje Kalajdzic (KO5).

However, his breakout win came against then-WBC titleholder Oleksandr Gvozdyk (TKO 10) in a unification bout. The 38-year-old marked time against Adam Deines (TKO 10) and Marcus Browne (KO 9) before demolishing WBO counterpart Joe Smith Jr. (TKO 2) and, most recently, wore down Anthony Yarde (TKO 8).

Smith (29-1, 21 KOs), The Ring’s No. 3-rated light heavyweight, won the British and European super middleweight titles in impressive fashion and got his big break in the WBSS. He defeated Erik Skoglund (UD 12) and late substitute Nieky Holzken (UD 12) to earn safe passage to the final where he stopped George Groves (KO 7) to become The Ring Magazine champion and WBA titleholder.

The Englishman struggled to capitalize on that momentum, easily defeating the undersized Hassan N’dam N’Jikam (TKO 3) and laboring against John Ryder (UD 12) in subsequent title defenses before losing to boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez (UD 12). The 33-year-old has since moved up to 175-pounds and won both outings and looks a real threat.

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].