The Videotron Centre will host one of the most pivotal fights of Québec boxing in recent years on Saturday, August 19, when Québec adoptee Artur Beterbiev, the unified WBC, WBO and IBF light-heavyweight champion of the world, will defend his belts against #1 WBC contender Callum Smith. The 12-round bout, broadcast on ESPN and Punching Grace, will be the headliner of the gala organized by Eye of the Tiger, in partnership with Top Rank and Matchroom Boxing.
The president of Eye of the Tiger didn’t even blink when deciding where to hold this championship event. Québec is a sure bet for international events, and is no stranger to high-profile fights, having hosted Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins in 2010, Lucian Bute vs. Glen Johnson in 2011, and Bute vs. James DeGale in 2015.
“This is a momentous event for us, as we’re continually striving to bring big, important 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 August 19 event will be particularly significant for Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs), who has not fought in Québec since he defended his North American IBF title in 2015 against Gabriel Campillo. “Québec is my second home, so I’m very happy to finally defend my titles on home turf”.
Since then, the world WBC, IBF and WBO champion has delivered victories in quick succession all over the world, becoming one of the best pound-for-pound boxers anywhere. None of his adversaries, including Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Marcus Browne, Joe Smith Jr. and Anthony Yarde, managed to overcome the immeasurable strength of the right-hander who has an imposing KO ratio of 100%.
“One of the sport’s hardest hitters, Artur Beterbiev will continue his conquest on August 19 in beautiful Québec City, in a duel that is sure to be memorable,” states Top Rank president Bob Arum. “Callum Smith has earned his spot as top contender and will not be intimidated by fighting in enemy territory, on Artur’s home turf”.
Artur Beterbiev knows that many fighters would like to dethrone him. True to the process that has never failed to take him to the top, Marc Ramsay’s protégé has started to prepare for this fight with rigour, discipline and determination. “When you’re 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 belt, but also to put on an impressive show on August 19,” asserts Beterbiev.
Former WBA light-heavyweight world champion Callum Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) will be the latest to try to stop the champion in his tracks. Smith, whose only loss was a unanimous decision against Mexican Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, will be the biggest challenge of Beterbiev’s career. Not only has the Brit shown he can roll with the punches, but he also has the physical advantages of towering at 6’3” and having an enviable reach.
“Having boxed abroad on many occasions, including in Saudi Arabia and the United States, I didn’t hesitate for a second when I was given the opportunity to confront Beterbiev in Québec. This is my chance to become world champion of two divisions, and I fully intend to bring the belts home with me to Liverpool,” adds Smith.
The full card for the #BeterbievSmith event will be released at a later date, but we have already confirmed the participation of Christian Mbilli (24-0, 20 KOs), WBC Continental of the Americas super-middleweight champion and current #1 in the WBC World ranking, and of Simon Kean (23-1, 22 KOs). Wilkens Mathieu (2-0, 1 KOs) and Leïla Beaudoin (9-1, 1 KO) will also be fighting in their home town for the first time. And finally, Clovis Drolet (13-1, 9 KOs) will be making a comeback on home turf.
Tickets for the August 19 event at Videotron Centre go on sale at 12:00 pm on May 26 on www.ticketmaster.ca. For more information, follow EOTTM on Facebook, Instagram @eottm_boxing, or Twitter @eottm11, or subscribe to the #EOTTMARMY newsletter by filling out the online form.