It’s another big fight night at Madison Square Garden, albeit one inside the smaller Hulu Theater.
In the main event of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN, undefeated WBC and IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) takes on WBO champion and native New Yorker Joe Smith Jr (28-3, 22 KOs) in a unification bout that promises to deliver a knockout.
These are two heavy-handed fighters but Beterbiev obviously hasn’t lost, and Smith Jr has only been stopped once. Even though Smith has the power that makes him a very formidable threat against just about anyone, he’s still a massive underdog to Beterbiev according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
This post will include full play-by-play for the headliner. Preliminary card action begins at 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT on ESPN+, before the main card starts at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT on ESPN and ESPN+. The main event should start at around 11 PM ET/8 PM PT but it’ll probably be up to an hour later depending on length of co-main and the absurdly long features ESPN does to kill time.
Join as at Bloody Elbow for live results and play-by-play of the fight. Offer your opinion in the comment section!
ESPN/ESPN+ main card (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT)
Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr., 12 rounds, WBC/IBF/WBO Light Heavyweight World Titles
Round 1 - Here we go! Good right hand by Beterbiev over Smith Jr’s jab. Chants of USA! and for Joe Smith Jr, New York’s own. Right hand by Smith is blocked. Smith pressuring early on. Gets in a good right hand. Stiff jab by Beterbiev and a right hand! They exchange big shots before tying up. Another right by Beterbiev! And down does Smith Jr but it’s ruled a slip. This is an awesome start to the fight. Wicked body shot by Beterbiev. Left hook by Beterbiev. Another right by Artur. Right hand and a knockdown by Beterbiev! This time Smith is down. He beats the count after that flash knockdown and it’s the first time he’s been dropped. 10-8 Beterbiev.
Round 2 - Beterbiev cannot miss with that right hand. Left hook and a right hand by Beterbiev. And they go toe to toe and both land! Fireworks! Beterbiev with a right that wobbles and drops Smith again!! Looked a lot like the first knockdown. Right uppercut and another one! Smith is getting battered and he is down a third time! This will not last much longer. Harvey Dock is letting this one continue. Still 1:30 to go in this round. Smith Jr holds on for dear life and Beterbiev warned for hitting behind the head. Two jabs back Smith Jr up. Two more rights by Beterbiev. I can’t see this going on much longer. Chopping right and uppercuts from both hands! Smith stumbling and now it’s over! Blowout. Absolute blowout! Artur Beterbiev is a BEAST!
Artur Beterbiev def. Joe Smith Jr by TKO at 2:19 of Round 2 to become the WBC, IBF, and WBO light heavyweight champion
Robeisy Ramirez def. Abraham Nova by KO at 2:20 of Round 5
ESPN+ prelims (6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT)
Bruce Carrington def. Adrian Leyva by TKO at 3:00 of Round 5
Jahi Tucker def. D’Andre Smith by TKO at 2:27 of Round 4
Floyd Diaz def. Daniil Platonovschi by unanimous decision (59-55, 60-54, 60-54)
Troy Isley def. Donte Stubbs by TKO at :38 of Round 6
Wendy Toussaint def. Asinia Byfield by unanimous decision (79-73, 79-73, 79-73)
Jahyae Brown def. Keane McMahon by unanimous decision (58-56, 58-56, 60-54)