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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 18: Artur Beterbiev celebrates after defeating Joe Smith Jr, during their WBC,IBF and WBO light heavyweight Championship fight, at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Boxing

3-belt King: Artur Beterbiev obliterates Joe Smith Jr in 2 rounds

All hail, King Artur, the three-belt light heavyweight champion. WBC/IBF ruler Artur Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) stopped Joe Smith Jr. (28-4, 22 KOs) in the second round Saturday evening at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Beterbiev knocked down Smith three times during the one-sided beatdown, picking up Smith’s WBO belt and moving one step closer to fully unifying the division.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 18: Joe Smith Jr (L) and Artur Beterbiev (R) exchange punches during their WBC,IBF and WBO light heavyweight Championship fight, at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Beterbiev dropped Smith with a clubbing right hand in the closing seconds of the opening round. Things got worse for the Long Island native in the second, as a left hook nearly sent Smith through the ropes. He rose to his feet, but the end was near. A pair of uppercuts, followed by a sweeping right hand left referee Harvey Dock no choice but to stop the fight.

“My coach told me it’s not too far until I become a good boxer,” Beterbiev said. “Joe’s a little bit open, and it was more easy for me to get him. {Both of us} have a good punch, and both tried to {connect} first. I’m lucky that I was first.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 18: Artur Beterbiev (L) and Bob Arum (R) celebrate after defeating Joe Smith Jr, during their WBC, IBF and WBO light heavyweight Championship fight, at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Sitting ringside was British contender Anthony Yarde, who may be in line for a shot at Beterbiev this fall. Beterbiev’s preference is a fight with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol, who recently defeated Canelo Alvarez.

“Unification fights are more interesting, more motivating,” Beterbiev said. “I prefer unification fight. I want to be undisputed.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 18: Robeisy Ramirez (L) and Abraham Nova (R) exchange punches during their featherweight fight, at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Ramirez Topples Nova in Featherweight Co-Feature

Cuban southpaw star Robeisy Ramirez (10-1, 6 KOs) announced his presence as a featherweight contender in a big way with an even bigger left hand. Ramirez knocked out the previously unbeaten Abraham Nova (21-1, 15 KOs) in the fifth round to pick up the USBA and WBO Global belts.

Ramirez, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, feinted with a right hand to the body and then came over the top with left that separated Nova from his senses.

Ramirez said, “It was all about the strategy. I’m blessed to work with Ismael Salas, who is a genius in my corner. It really was about setting up that shot. If you watch the fight, it was about working, tapping the body until that opening was created. I knew he was dangerous, so I had to be careful, but when I saw my opening, I took it and I finished the fight.”

In other results:

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 18: Adrian Leyva (L) and Bruce Carrington (R) exchange punches during their featherweight fight, at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Featherweight: 

Bruce Carrington (4-0, 3 KOs) RTD 5 Adrian Leyva (3-3-1, 1 KO). Carrington, the latest fistic prodigy from Brownsville, Brooklyn, authored a power punching clinic that forced Leyva to remain on his stool following the fifth round.

He landed 69 of 121 power shots, including 11 of 17 in the fifth round. Leyva entered the fight riding a four-bout unbeaten streak.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 18: D’Andre Smith (L) and Jahi Tucker (R) exchange punches during their welterweight fight, at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Welterweight

Jahi Tucker (8-0, 5 KOs) TKO 4 D’Andre Smith (11-2, 5 KOs), 2:27. Tucker, from Deer Park, New York, thrilled the home region fans with a relentless offensive display that prompted the commission to advise referee Shawn Clark to stop the fight.

Tucker buzzed Smith in the second round, but Smith somehow weathered the storm to survive two more rounds.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 18: Floyd Diaz celebrates after defeating Daniil Platonovschi, during their junior featherweight fight, at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Junior Featherweight: 

Floyd Diaz (5-0, 1 KO) UD 6 Daniil Platonovschi (4-1, 2 KOs). Scores: 60-54 2x and 59-55. Diaz cruised to a clear points win in a battle of unbeaten prospects, and he did so with a heavy heart.

Earlier Saturday, Diaz’s grandfather, Juan Demetrio Diaz, passed away at the age of 68. Diaz honoured his memory with a boxing tour de force.

Middleweight: 

Troy Isley (6-0, 4 KOs) TKO 6 Donte Stubbs (6-6, 2 KOs), :38. Isley, a U.S. Olympian, became the first man to stop Stubbs in a one-sided power punching display.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 18: Troy Isley (L) knocks-down Donte Stubbs (R) during their middleweight fight, at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Isley knocked down Stubbs at the end of the fourth, then ended the fight with a straight right hand early in the sixth. Stubbs rose to his feet on wobbly legs, and referee Charlie Fitch waved it off.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 18: Wendy Toussaint celebrates after defeating Asinia Byfield, during their junior middleweight fight, at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Junior Middleweight: 

Wendy Toussaint (14-1, 6 KOs) UD 8 Asinia Byfield (15-5-1, 7 KOs). Scores: 79-73 3x.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 18: Jahyae Brown (L) and Keane McMahon (R) exchange punches during their junior middleweight fight, at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on June 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Junior Middleweight: 

Jahyae Brown (11-0, 8 KOs) UD 6 Keane McMahon (7-3, 4 KOs). Scores: 60-54 and 58-56 2x.

Credit: Top Rank Boxing

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