We analyse the credentials and statistics of unified light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith as the pair get set for their blockbuster world title bout in Quebec, Canada, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
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There are five current male fighters who could be described as the most difficult man to beat in boxing today...
This weekend Britain’s Callum Smith is tasked with going into Canada to beat one of them.
Artur Beterbiev is not only an intimidating propositio,n but one who improves when fights get violent, bloody, and brutal.
Smith holds wins over George Groves, albeit a faded one, John Ryder (a fortunate decision) and managed to last 12 rounds with Canelo Alvarez. Those were during his days when the big Liverpudlian was trying to get down to 168lbs.
At 175lbs he looks a much more dangerous fighter.
Can he upset the applecart and rip the titles away from the feared Russian, well we don't have long to wait to find out...
Before then however, it's time to look at the Tale of the Tape.
|19-0 (19 KOs)
|29-1 (21 KOs)
|Won - (TKO) v Anthony Yarde (January 2023)
|Won - (KO) v Mathieu Bauderlique (August 2022)
When Artur Beterbiev beat Anthony Yarde in January it was one of the few occasions when some of his vulnerabilities were exposed.
An inspired Yarde made dents in the Russian thanks to his hand speed and abilities to stand up to the champion and fight fire with fire in a fight of the year contender.
But that isn’t enough to beat a man made for punishment and destruction.
Yarde’s stamina and the impact that the champion’s shots were having eventually took their toll on a world-class effort from the Briton. The question now is what that gruelling encounter took from Beterbiev?
On January 21st he celebrates his 39th birthday and while his career only consists of 19 fights to date, those have been over a period of 10 years.
He is a dominant force but the battles against Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Marcus Browne and Yarde may have left their mark.
Eventually he will find himself involved in one too many, but will Smith be the man to capitalise?
|Lots of mileage
|Closing the distance
For all his talent Callum Smith lacks a huge, standout win on his record.
His seventh-round knockout win over George Groves was the most eye-catching performance of his career, but his opponent’s best years were far removed.
A razor-thin win over John Ryder and being out-thought and out-fought by Canelo Alvarez shouldn’t fill backers of Smith with confidence.
However, those days were at 12 stone. Now his 6ft 3 frame has another seven pounds to add making the demands of camp and fighting that little bit easier.
By no means does that make him a favourite to beat Beterbiev but he has a new lease of life.
Being bigger, stronger, punching harder and with significantly less miles on the clock than his opponent should give him a better chance at winning than Yarde did before he faced Beterbiev.
Still, despite all of that, he remains the BIG outsider in Canada this weekend - and for that, there's a very obvious reason - Artur Beterbiev!
|Can be backed up
|Doesn't make the most of his size
All odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.