A former world champion will be the latest to test one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the sport.
Unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev will defend his titles against Callum Smith, Top Rank Promotions announced on Thursday. Beterbiev will face the ex-super middleweight titleholder on Aug. 19 in Quebec City, where the undefeated Beterbiev lives.
The native Russian is currently ranked No. 1 in ESPN’s light heavyweight ranking and is eighth on ESPN’s men’s pound-for-pound list. Beterbiev is looking for his 20th knockout in as many professional fights.
“Québec is my second home, so I’m very happy to finally defend my titles on home turf,” Beterbiev said in Top Rank’s statement announcing the fight.
The bout against Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) marks Beterbiev’s first title defense in Canada since 2021, when he knocked out Marcus Browne in Montreal to retain the IBF and WBC belts.
Since moving up to the 175-pound division following a 2020 loss to Canelo Alvarez, Smith has won his last two fights. Most recently, the Englishman stopped Mathieu Bauderlique on the Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua II undercard last August.
This March, the WBC ordered Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) to face Smith in a mandatory title defense. Top Rank earned the right to promote the fight by submitting a winning purse bid in April.
Many have clamored for a potential undisputed fight between Beterbiev and Bivol, the longtime WBA champion. However, the WBC has been adamantly opposed to sanctioning Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) because of his continued Russian ties amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine.