King Artur and his three world titles are coming home to Canada.
Montreal resident Artur Beterbiev, the unified WBC/WBO/IBF light heavyweight world champion, will defend his belts against WBC No. 1 contender Callum “Mundo” Smith on Saturday, Aug. 19 at Videotron Centre in Québec City, Canada.
Promoted by Eye of the Tiger and Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing, Beterbiev-Smith and a co-feature will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The card will air live and exclusively on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland.
The August 19 event will be particularly significant for Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs), boxing’s only world champion with a 100 percent knockout ratio. He has not fought in Québec City since he defended his IBF North American belt in 2015 against Gabriel Campillo.
“This is a momentous event for us, as we’re continually striving to bring major fights back to the province. We’re thrilled to be able to make this happen with the best boxer in the history of Québec, Artur Beterbiev, who will share the limelight with other EOTTM fighters. We hope that boxing fans will attend in droves, and that the evening will mark the beginning of a new era of boxing in Québec,” said Eye of the Tiger president Camille Estephan.
“The legend of the sport’s most fearsome puncher, Artur Beterbiev, continues August 19 in beautiful Québec City for a fight that can’t help but be a light heavyweight championship classic,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Callum Smith is a deserving mandatory challenger who won’t be intimidated fighting on Artur’s home turf.”
“Québec is my second home, so I’m very happy to finally defend my titles on home turf,” Beterbiev said. “When you are world champion, everyone wants the opportunity to take your belt, and that’s especially true in my case, with three titles at stake. I’ve already started my training camp, and I’ll be ready to not only defend my belts, but to also put on an impressive show August 19.”
Smith said,“I’m excited to finally get my opportunity to become a two-weight world champion. I’m no stranger to fighting on away soil, having boxed in Saudi Arabia twice, across America, and now heading to Canada on August 19. There was no hesitation from me going to Canada to fight Artur Beterbiev, and I will be returning to Liverpool as a world champion once more.”
Beterbiev, a two-time Olympian, has lived in Montreal since turning pro a decade ago. He has made seven world title defenses since toppling Enrico Koelling for the vacant IBF title in November 2017. Beterbiev picked up the WBC strap with a stirring 2019 knockout over Oleksandr Gvozdyk, then added the WBO title to his collection with last year’s second-round drubbing of Joe Smith Jr. He’s only fought once in Canada as world champion, a ninth-round TKO over Marcus Browne in December 2021. Beterbiev followed up the Smith triumph with January’s thrilling eighth-round stoppage over Anthony Yarde in Yarde’s hometown of London.
Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) is a former WBA super middleweight world champion who holds victories over George Groves, Hassan N’Dam and John Ryder. His championship run came to an end in December 2019, when he lost a one-sided decision to pound-for-pound great Canelo Alvarez in a title unification tilt. Smith moved up to light heavyweight following the Canelo defeat and notched knockout victories over Gilbert Castillo Rivera and Mathieu Bauderlique.
The full card for the Beterbiev-Smith event, which will also feature undefeated super middleweight Christian Mbilli (24-0, 20 KOs) and heavyweight puncher Simon Kean (23-1, 22 KOs), will be announced shortly. Local talents Wilkens Mathieu (2-0, 1 KOs), Leïla Beaudoin (9-1, 1 KO) and Clovis Drolet (13-1, 9 KOs) will also fight in front of their hometown supporters.