Anthony Yarde watched from ringside Saturday night and was impressed by the way Beterbiev battered Joe Smith Jr. on his way to a second-round technical knockout at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater.
“He’s a beast,” Yarde said. “He hits very hard. I’m a beast, too. That’s why I think it’s such an exciting matchup.”
Yarde, the WBO’s number one contender for one of Beterbiev’s three titles, wasn’t especially surprised that Beterbiev beat Smith so quickly.
“I knew they were gonna come at each other, and it was literally whoever landed first,” Yarde said. “I think [Smith] had a chance, of course. They’ve both knockout punching power. And when two fighters like that come together, there’s due to be an exciting fight and quite possibly a knockout.”
Beterbiev dropped Smith (28-4, 22 KOs) three times before their light heavyweight title unification fight was stopped at 2:19 of the second round.
Yarde will take a different approach to battling Beterbiev, yet he didn’t fault Smith for how he went after the Russian-born, Montreal-based boxer.
“I just feel we’re different fighters,” Yarde said. “And I feel like Joe Smith Jr.’s best chance was to go out and done what he did. But again, he’s come up a bit short.”