Joe Smith Jr says WBO mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde would be an ‘easy fight’ as he targets undisputed title fight with Dmitry Bivol

Joe Smith Jr has the chance to unify much of the light heavyweight division this Saturday when he takes on the fearsome Artur Beterbiev.

The Russian holds the IBF and WBC lightweight titles while Smith brings his WBO title to the dance in New York.

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Smith Jr can unify the light-heavyweight division in his hometown of New York

Beterbiev [left] and Smith Jr. [right] is a big deal of punches

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Beterbiev [left] and Smith Jr. [right] is a big deal of punches

Smith, 32, is 28-3 in his professional career, but he lost to another Russian in a world title fight in 2019 when he fell to Dmitry Bivol by decision.

Bivol holds the other belt at 175 pounds and Smith’s showdown with Beterbiev could go a long way to setting up a fight to unify the division in the near future.

talkSPORT spoke to the American ahead of his date with fate on Saturday June 18.

Could this fight go the distance or will it end in a knockout?

“Any fight has the potential to go the distance, and I think this fight definitely has the potential to go the distance, but it could also be a quick knockout, we’re both big punchers, but we’re also guys very tough.”

How do you see the fight unfolding?

“I see my hand rising at the end of the night, celebrating with my three belts.”


Smith Jr has 22 knockouts to his name

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Smith Jr has 22 knockouts to his name

Fight with Bivol’s favorite option next?

“One hundred percent, if we can get this fight to happen in the near future, I would love to do it.”

Can you beat Bivol?

“I believe I learned a lot in my last fights and I have a lot more experience now and I believe I’m ready for this opportunity, I just have to get past this guy first.”

Bivol picked up a shock win over boxing superstar Canelo

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Bivol picked up a shock win over boxing superstar Canelo

What did you think of Bivol vs Canelo?

“I thought the win over Canelo was impressive and he looked good. I thought Bivol would do the job and I put money on him to win.

“I won a couple hundred dollars, didn’t bet crazy, my wife yelled at me for betting on it and said he wouldn’t get a decision on Canelo, but I was cleared to put a few hundred.”

Buatsi and Yarde as future adversaries?

“Yeah, they are great fighters and if the opportunity presents itself and it’s the right and the right choice to make at that time, then yes.”

How would a fight with WBO mandatory Yarde go?

Anthony Yarde named mandatory challenger

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Anthony Yarde named mandatory challenger

“I don’t know, he hasn’t really competed at a high level, so right now it would be an easy fight for me.”

What did the world title look like?

“It was amazing, it’s what I’ve been working towards all my life, so to achieve that was huge.”

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