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Artur Beterbiev v Callum Smith review: Beterbiev proves too strong for British star

Artur Beterbiev extended his winning run to 20 fights after another complete performance as he stopped Callum Smith in the seventh round to defend his world titles in Quebec.

Artur Beterbiev extended his winning run to 20 fights after another complete performance as he stopped Callum Smith in the seventh round to defend his world titles in Quebec.

The Russian had put his WBC, IBF and WBO light-heavyweight titles on the line, with Smith hoping to become a two-weight world champion after his previous successful spell as a super-middleweight.

Smith had promised to earn Beterbiev's respect early by landing an array of big punches, but the British ace never hurt his rival before becoming the latest man to succumb to his devastating power.

Beterbiev plans unification contest

Even though Saturday's fight was for three world titles, there was a further carrot dangled in front of both men ahead of the bout.

Beterbiev has long been linked with a mega-fight against fellow Russian Dmitry Bivol, who holds the WBA title at light-heavyweight.

Bivol has been ranked as the best in the division by The Ring, ESPN and BoxRec, but Beterbiev and his team will feel they can conquer the division after his latest victory.

The 38-year-old broke down Smith round-by-round and just continued to unsettle his rival, landing short and sharp punches. While they carried little power, his ability to unsettle Smith put him in control, and he showed no signs of slowing down despite the fact he will turn 39 next week.

Ahead of the fight, there was lots of talk about the size of the ring, with Smith's fans complaining it was on the small side, but that allowed Beterbiev to hone in on his target, and he eventually took him out in the seventh round.

Smith got caught on the ropes, and he was soon on the canvas for the first time. While he beat the count, another barrage of punches soon saw him on the floor again before his corner waved off the fight.

Beterbiev was asked after the bout about his plans, and he was quick to confirm he wants Bivol later in the year.

He said: "I need a fourth belt. It would mean a lot to me.

"It's the top," he continued. "It would mean in this category I have done work.

"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. He's good. Thanks to him. But today, luck is on my side."

Smith refuses to rush his next move

Former super-middleweight world champion Smith now faces a crossroads moment in his career after Saturday's defeat.

The Liverpool fighter had hoped to pull off a shock victory, but he never looked settled in Quebec.

Smith has only lost to two of the best of his era, losing on points to Canelo Alvarez and now Beterbiev, but another world title shot may now be several years away.

With Bivol and Beterbiev set to face off, Smith may need to win another fight before earning a shot at the eventual winner, and retirement could soon creep into his mind.

Even though he was outclassed, Smith says he will take time to consider his next move.

He told Sky Sports: "Disappointed. I'm used to being the best; I always believed I was the best, and accepting that I'm not is hard. It's a hard one to take, but the better man won tonight. He stopped me getting my rhythm.

"He's good at just touching, touching, stopping me getting any momentum, and I'd say the better man won tonight.

"I've always set the bar very high. I've always wanted to be the best, and I believed I was the best. I've given a lot of boxing, and I've not made any decisions, but it's time to assess the future and see if we've got any goals to motivate me to get back into the gym. If not, we'll see."

While Smith ponders his future in the sport, boxing fans can look forward to Canadian native Beterbiev competing in one of the biggest fights in boxing.

Saudi Arabian organizers have already shown an interest in hosting the contest, and a summer unification fight between two superstars of the sport is now in the pipeline.

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