Beterbiev keeps KO streak alive to claim 3rd title

NEW YORK — Artur Beterbiev scored three knockdowns of Joe Smith Jr. en route to a second-round TKO to capture a third light heavyweight title on Saturday at Hulu Theater at MSG.

Boxing’s only champion with a 100% knockout record, Beterbiev floored Smith in the closing seconds of the opening round with a counter right hand.

The 175-pounders continued to slug it out in Round 2, and Beterbiev’s power and shot-placement proved to be too much. The 37-year-old dropped Smith with a left hook and moments later the Long Island, New York, native was on the canvas again after a flurry of punches.

Smith, 32, never attempted to regain his senses. Instead, he tried to punch his way out of trouble. Beterbiev made him pay one final time with a left uppercut followed by a right uppercut as the referee jumped in before Smith could fall a fourth time. The time of the stoppage was 2:19.

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