Russian boxing champ hopes he ‘won’t be tried’ for using Canadian flag — RT Sport News
Light heavyweight boxing world champion Artur Beterbiev said he hopes he does “not to be judged too harshly” in his Russian homeland after fighting under the Canadian flag in his recent demolition of Joe Smith Jr, and also spoke of a potential undisputed showdown with compatriot Dmitry Bivol.
Beterbiev maintained his 100% knockout record with a brutal second-round victory over Smith earlier this month at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York, adding the American’s WBO title to his WBC and IBF belts.
Residing in Montreal for a decade, Beterbiev fought under the Canadian flag rather than the neutral status that allowed Russians to continue boxing despite many sports federations banning them elsewhere in response to their country’s military operation in Ukraine.
Speaking to Match TV as he arrived at a hero’s welcome in Moscow on Tuesday, however, the 18-0 warrior said the development was a “strength” extent, given the circumstances.
“It was forced. Once in my whole career I played under the Canadian flag. How many years have I been in boxing…28,” said Beterbiev.
“Before that, I always competed in the Russian jersey [flag] – I hope they will not judge me harshly and remember that I have always represented the Russian flag, I will continue to do so as soon as possible.”
Showing respect for Smith, Dagestan-born Beterbiev refused to accept that the way he took the American aside showed it was a bad idea to try to go up against him in the ring.
“You Can’t Say That” Beterbiev insisted. “He did everything he could. If you say that, then the 18 fighters [I previously faced] showed how not to box with me.”
Beterbiev’s next foe will likely be Britain’s Anthony Yarde, who is the mandatory challenger to his newly acquired WBO strap.
Yet the fight everyone wants to see would pit Beterbiev against Bivol, after the latter handed Mexican great Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez only the second loss of his career with a dominating unanimous decision victory in Las Vegas in May. which saw him retain his WBA light heavyweight. belt.
Additionally, the all-Russian showdown would crown the first undisputed light-heavyweight champion of the four-belt era.
“They talk about a mandatory defense, they also talk about the fight for unification”, said Beterbiev.
“Of course, it’s more interesting for me, and it’s a priority”, Beterbiev, 37, insisted on a meeting with Bivol instead of Yarde.
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