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Beterbiev brutalizes Smith in two

In a highly anticipated light heavyweight unification showdown, WBC/IBF world champion Artur Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) crushed and dethroned WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs) in less than two rounds on Saturday night at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Smith came out aggressively, but Beterbiev dropped Smith to a knee at the end of the first round. Beterbiev finished the demolition by putting Smith down twice in round two and leaving referee Harvey Dock no alternative but to stop it after some additional punishment. Time was 2:19. Beterbiev, boxing’s only world champion with a 100 percent knockout ratio, continues his reign of terror in the 175lb division.

“My coach told me it’s not too far until I become a good boxer,” Beterbiev said. “Joe’s a little bit open, and it was more easy for me to get him. {Both of us} have a good punch, and both tried to {connect} first. I’m lucky that I was first.”

Sitting ringside was WBO mandatory contender Anthony Yarde, who may be in line for a shot at Beterbiev this fall. Beterbiev’s preference is a fight with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol, who recently defeated Canelo Alvarez.

“Unification fights are more interesting, more motivating,” Beterbiev said. “I prefer unification fight. I want to be undisputed.”

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