Artur Beterbiev just breaks you down, Oleksandr Gvozdyk warns Callum Smith

Former light-heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk has a keen eye on this weekend’s clash in Quebec between Artur Beterbiev and challenger Callum Smith

Gvozdyk’s only career defeat came at the hand of his Russian rival Beterbiev, losing through a 10th round stoppage over four years ago in Philadelphia. 

“Beterbiev turns 39-years-old in January I believe,” Gvozdyk said, in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “At this age, you will see him in a fight and all of a sudden he is getting old, but I don’t think that will happen this time around. Beterbiev is a very disciplined fighter and a very disciplined athlete, he’s always keeping in shape. In his performance against [Anthony] Yarde, I think underestimation came into play. When I looked at him at the press conference, he looked super relaxed.” 

Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) defends his IBF, WBC and WBO light-heavyweight titles against Smith this Saturday nearly a whole year since his last bout with Yarde. Smith has experienced a near 18-month hiatus from the ring, he last fought on the Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua undercard claiming a fourth-round knockout over Mathieu Bauderlique. 

“With Smith, I haven’t seen that much from him recently.” Gvozdyk continued, “I saw his fight with Canelo, but I didn’t see any competition. But I hope it will be a great fight. Beterbiev’s biggest strength is that he will come and break you down. He is naturally a very strong guy, I know he works on that a lot. His power is his greatest strength, so to beat him you need to be 100 per cent ready. You can be a naturally better boxer and faster than him, but he will always neutralise these fighters’ best attributes. To beat him, you could run away from him for 12 rounds, but your conditioning will have to be the very best. I wasn’t, that is why I got in trouble. He basically just broke me down.

“If all the conditions are normal for this fight, I don’t see too much of a challenge from Smith for Beterbiev. Smith is a tall, rangy guy, but what I noticed with Canelo, who is way shorter than Beterbiev, Smith didn’t really use his reach advantage. He will be able to get in the inside and work on Smith, he will again neutralise his power, range and length. This is why I don’t think this fight will be too big of a problem for Beterbiev. I think he will have no problem getting close to him, and when he gets close to him he will start throwing bombs and something similar will happen which happens to all of Beterbiev’s opponents. He will just break Smith down, I don’t see much competition. Unless Smith can land some big bombs at the beginning of the fight and can maybe drop Beterbiev… Again, the scenario seems almost impossible. But like I said, you just never know when a fighter will get old. I see a knockout for Beterbiev in this fight, I think in the sixth round, somewhere around the middle of the fight, maybe sooner.”