Sunday, January 14th 2024

Seek & Destroy: Artur Beterbiev Batters Callum Smith

Jason Moloney retains bantamweight title in modern classic

QUEBEC CITY, Canada (Jan. 13, 2024) — Twenty have tried. And 20 have been stopped.

Unified light heavyweight king Artur Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs) defended hisWBC/IBF/WBO world titles with a seventh-round TKO win against former world champion Callum Smith (29-2, 16 KOs) Saturday evening at Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada.

Beterbiev remains boxing’s only world champion with a 100 percent knockout ratio by handing Smith his first knockdown and stoppage loss.

The 38-year-old wrecking ball, who calls Montreal home, looked to quickly remove the ring rust following a one-year layoff by chasing down Smith in the opening seconds. Smith, with significant reach and height advantages, tried to land from the outside.

In rounds three and four, Beterbiev began mauling Smith by landing vicious punches around his guard. He boxed from the outside in round five but resumed his forward momentum in the sixth, forcing an increasingly bruised Smith against the ropes to land chopping right hands.

In the seventh, Beterbiev countered a Smith jab with a looping right hand that wobbled him, eventually dropping him with a relentless fusillade of punches. Smith got back to his feet, but he was knocked down again. This prompted head trainer Buddy McGirt to stop the fight at 2:00 mark of round seven.
Beterbiev said, “It’s because of luck. It’s my coach. My team works hard with me, too. Maybe that’s why, too. But I think it’s because of luck.

“We had a couple strategies. We always have more than one. We need to be prepared for several strategies. He gave me a good fight. He stayed strong. Thanks to him. Today, luck is on my side.

“Yes, of course {I want the Bivol fight}. I need another belt. It would mean a lot to me.”

Mbilli Overwhelms Murdock 

Super middleweight destroyer Christian Mbilli (26-0, 22 KOs) defended his regional titles tonight with a sixth-round TKO against Australian contender Rohan Murdock (27-3, 19 KOs).

Mbilli wasted no time from the opening round, cutting the distance and pushing Murdock to the ropes to land looping right hands and left hooks. Murdock survived the onslaught, but his offense wasn’t enough to halt Mbilli’s momentum.

By round five, Murdock’s corner was ready to throw in the towel. In the sixth, Murdock attempted to claw his way into the fight, but a series of bombs from Mbilli snapped his head back and forced his corner to end the contest as soon as he returned to his corner.

Mbilli said, “Tonight I sent a message. I am the future of the division. That’s what the message was today.

“Canelo is the best. Everyone knows that. But now I want to show that I’m the best in the division. My goal is to fight him. I would do anything to fight him.

“Murdock is strong. He took all of my good punches. But for me, I thought I would finish him in one more round. But his team ended the fight. He’s a good fighter, but I’m the best today.”

Moloney Retains Title in Barnburner 

Jason “Mayhem” Moloney (27-2, 19 KOs) retained his WBO bantamweight world title with a majority decision over Saul Sanchez (20-3, 12 KOs) in a back-and-forth tussle in which the Australian’s versatility made the difference.

One judge scored it 114-114, which was overruled by two scores of 116-112.

Sanchez was aggressive from the start, but by round three, Moloney began to stand his ground and land on the inside. A headbutt caused a cut above Moloney’s right eye, but he was unfazed going into rounds four and five, where he worked the body and corralled Sanchez against the ropes.

Sanchez returned fire in the sixth and seventh with one-twos and right uppercuts, but not without quick responses from Moloney. The two then went back and forth for the rest of the slugfest, with both landing enough to make each round close.

Moloney swept the final two rounds on two of the judges’ cards to pull away.

Moloney said, “Saul Sanchez is a warrior. I am proud to be the WBO bantamweight champion, and I was going to do whatever it took to keep my title.

“The era of Mayhem is only beginning. And the fans here in Quebec City were incredible. I felt like I did enough in the later rounds to retain my title.

“I’d love to defend my world title ‘Down Under’ in front of my Australian fans.”

Light Heavyweight: Imam Khataev (6-0, 6 KOs) TKO 2 Michal Ludwiczak (17-13-1, 9 KOs), 2:17.

Junior Lightweight: Leila Beaudoin (11-1, 1 KO) UD 8 Elizabeth Espinoza (4-6-3,  1 KO). Scores: 78-74 2x and 77-75.

Super Middleweight: Wilkens Mathieu (6-0, 3 KOs) UD 4 Jose Arias Alvarez (3-2, 1 KO), Scores: 40-36 and 40-35 2x.

Light Heavyweight: Mehmet Ünal (8-0, 7 KOs) TKO 1 Dragan Lepei (22-7-2, 10 KOs), :57.

Welterweight: Christopher Guerrero (10-0, 5 KOs) UD 8 Sergio Herrera (7-4, 4 KOs), Scores: 79-73 and 78-74 2x.

Middleweight: Moreno Fendero (3-0, 2 KOs) TKO 1 Victor Hugo Flores (7-4, 3 KOs).