Undefeated Artur Beterbiev will take on current WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr in a unification bout at Hulu Theatre, Madison Square Gardens in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Both fighters have the chance to claim the remaining belts and unify the light heavyweight division.

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Beterbiev to maintain his 100% KO record

Artur Beterbiev will enter the ring for the 18th time in his professional career when he takes on Smith Jr. Beterbiev is still yet to lose a fight and he looks like maintaining that record as the 1/7 favourite heading into the fight. Beterbiev has been a knockout machine throughout his career, winning all 17 of his previous fights by way of knockout, which sees him come into the fight at 4/9 to win by KO, TKO or DQ.

The Russian fighter claimed another in his last fight in the shape of Marcus Browne. Despite suffering a terrible cut in the fourth round and the referee threatening to end the fight in the fifth round as a result, Beterbiev came out victorious. With another devastating knockout Beterbiev ended the fight in the ninth round and is 8/1 to finish off Smith Jr at the same stage.

Beterbiev has won 11 of his 17 professional fights by delivering knockouts in the fourth round or earlier. With most of these coming earlier in his career the Russian fighter is 13/2 to end the fight within the first four. With his last fight ending in the ninth and the two prior to that seeing 10th round KOs, Beterbiev is Evens to end the fight between the seventh and the 12th round.

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Could Smith Jr cause an upset?

Joe Smith Jr claimed the vacant WBO light heavyweight belt beating Maxim Vlasov in April 2021 and he will hope to complete the set by beating Beterbiev on Sunday morning. With three losses on his record, Smith Jr heads into the fight as the 9/2 underdog.

22 of Smith Jr’s 28 professional victories have come by knockout with the American at 8/1 to win by KO, TKO or DQ. Unlike his opponent, Smith Jr has won six fights by decision and at 9/1 to win by decision or technical decision we could see the American take this fight to the final bell.

Both of Smith Jr’s last knockout victories came in the ninth round but with the American at 66/1 to take out Beterbiev in the ninth it looks unlikely that he will continue this form. His most likely method of victory is by KO, TKO or DQ at 8/1 with a win on points not far behind at 9/1.

Only three of Smith Jr’s previous nine wins have come before the sixth round which sees the American at 25/1 to win the fight between round one and six with his opponent at 3/1 to do so. If the fight is to be over quickly it is likely that Beterbiev will be the fighter who strikes the final blow.

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