Artur Beterbiev stops Callum Smith to retain light-heavyweight titles in brutal fashion

Beatdown: Artur Beterbiev made light work of Callum Smith in Quebec City clash (Getty Images)
Beatdown: Artur Beterbiev made light work of Callum Smith in Quebec City clash (Getty Images)

Britain's Callum Smith has failed in his brave bid to dethrone big-hitting unified light-heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev.

Liverpool favourite Smith was dominated as he challenged for the WBC, IBF and WBO titles at 175lbs in Quebec City, Canada on Saturday night, floored twice and eventually stopped in the seventh round of a brutal one-sided contest.

It was only a second professional career defeat for the former WBA super-middleweight world champion and a first since he was brushed aside on points by the great Canelo Alvarez back in 2020.

Beterbiev, 38, was initially due to defend his belts against Smith on August 19 but the unbeaten Russian-born Canadian underwent surgery on an infected jawbone which led to a postponement.

Smith finally got his chance five months later but was ultimately unable to overcome Beterbiev's bruising power.

After some even opening exchanges, Beterbiev began to dictate the fight from the third round onwards.

Smith showed a lot of heart to stretch the bout to round seven, but after being knocked down twice in quick succession his corner was forced to step in and Beterbiev improved his record to 20-0 with 20 knockouts.

He will now hope to face fellow undefeated Russian champion Dmitry Bivol - who has held the WBA light-heavyweight title since 2017 - in a blockbuster undisputed clash later in 2024.

"Yes, of course [I want the Bivol fight]," Beterbiev said after vanquishing Smith, per ESPN. "I need another belt. It would mean a lot to me."

Additional reporting by the Press Association.