Artur Beterbiev: I’m 100 percent ready & focused on Callum Smith

Beterbiev defends against Smith live on ESPN from Québec City, Canada

Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith battle it out live from Videotron Centre in Québec City, Canada on Saturday, January 13. The 12-round contest pits Montreal based undefeated unified three-belt light heavyweight champion against once-beaten former super middleweight champion of the UK.

Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) makes the second defense of his WBC, WBO and IBF belts. The 38-year-old fights in Canada for the first time in over two years and looks to extend his 100 percent knockout ratio.

“I’m excited, just like I am for every fight,” Artur Beterbiev said at the final pre-fight press conference. “For this fight, we prepared like we usually do, which is at 100 percent.”

“I’m focused on this fight. I’m happy that my supporters are coming to watch us. But I have things to do.”

Artur Beterbiev vs Callum Smith press conference
Artur Beterbiev vs Callum Smith press conference | Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
Artur Beterbiev at press conference
Artur Beterbiev at press conference | Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
Artur Beterbiev media scrum
Artur Beterbiev media scrum | Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) is a former WBA 186-pound titleholder, who lost his belt by unanimous decision against Canelo Alvarez in December 2020. Riding a two-fight winning streak, the 33-year-old native of Liverpool, England looks to become world champion in two divisions.

“I’m here to do a job,” Callum Smith said. “I’m here to become a world champion again. I’m here with my team. And as long as I’m with them, I can be anywhere and feel like home. I’m in a good place mentally and physically, and I’m ready to perform.”

“This will be exciting. He’s a very good fighter. He’s a three-belt champion. So, his achievements speak for themselves. But, I believe in myself. I always have. I believe that the best version of me can beat anyone in the world. I fully stand by that.”

“I’ve improved a lot over the last couple of years with {my trainer} Buddy McGirt. And the time is now. I’m ready to become a two-division world champion. I’m being presented with the opportunity this weekend, and it’s an opportunity I plan on taking.”

“Regardless of whether the crowd is cheering for me or against me, I’m there to do a job. My focus is on my opponent. It’s nice to have people cheering for you. But if they’re not, I’m still there to do the same thing.”

Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith at press conference
Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith at press conference | Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith go face to face
Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith go face to face | Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
Artur Beterbiev vs Callum Smith press conference participants
Artur Beterbiev vs Callum Smith press conference participants | Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images

Beterbiev vs Smith is scheduled for 12 rounds.

In the co-main event, Christian Mbilli (25-0, 21 KOs) of Cameroon faces off Rohan Murdock (27-2, 19 KOs) of Australia. The super middleweight bout is scheduled for 10 rounds with the WBC Continental Americas and WBA International titles on the line.

On the top of Beterbiev vs Smith prelims live on ESPN+, Australia’s newly-crowned WBO bantamweight champion Jason Moloney (26-2, 19 KOs) makes the first defense of his title against Saul Sanchez (20-2, 12 KOs) of Encino, California. The world championship bout is scheduled for 12 rounds.

Parviz Iskenderov
Parviz Iskenderov is a former Muay Thai fighter, sports manager and editor at FIGHTMAG.

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