By Luke Furman
Artur Beterbiev (13-0, 13 KOs), the IBF lightweight heavyweight champion, admits that he will have very little time to rest.
Beterbiev will make the second defense of his world title against Joe Smith on December 15th, as part of the undercard to Canelo Alvarez vs. Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Just a few short weeks ago in Boston, Beterbiev was forced to get off the floor to secure a fourth round knockout of Callum Johnson.
In Smith, Beterbiev faces another game fighter who punches hard and likes to trade big punches.
“The deadline is short, but I will be ready,” Beterbiev told The Montreal Journal. “Smith is a good boxer who bangs hard. He looks a lot like Callum Johnson. I will try to be more careful.”
Beterbiev does not regret being dropped by Johnson and believes that he learned a big lesson in getting a little too overconfident.
“It can happen to all fighters, but of course I did not like that. It was a surprise for me. But you saw what happened next. I’m glad it happened because it’s a good experience for me,” Beterbiev said.
As for Smith, Beterbiev’s head coach Marc Ramsay sees “a lot of similarities” between the two pugilists.
He gives Smith a physical edge over Johnson. Overall the coach is happy to see his fighter get back in the ring very quickly.
“But Smith is stronger physically,” Ramsay says.
“What makes me happy is to see him active. I’m really happy he’s fighting right away. Before, he did not fight often enough and it was harmful for him. We will not hide due to his age we will not take detours, we are going in a straight line and we will face the best.”
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org