The Russian light heavyweight power puncher, Artur Beterbiev, successfully defeated German challenger Adam Deines after being out of the ring for 519 days. Beterbiev's last fight was against Oleksandr Gvozdyk in October 2019 to unify two light heavyweight title belts. This fight was initially scheduled for January this year but Beterbiev had tested positive for COVID-19 in December of last year.
The fight started off evenly with both fighters throwing combinations and working the body. Beterbiev scored a knockdown on Deines before the end of the first round. However, Deines was able to recover in the rounds after throwing combinations to the head of Beterbiev. Deines also had his moments throughout the fight even when he was pressured by Beterbiev's strong offensive front. But Beterbiev was the stronger, bigger and faster fighter getting his body shots and power punches through Deines' guard.
Coming into this fight, Beterbiev has beaten all of his past 15 opponents by way of knockout. And this fight was no different even with a long layoff for the Russian knockout artist. Beterbiev outlanded Deines 13-6 in total punches during the tenth round before putting Deines down for the second time with a short left hook. Deines' corner then held up a towel a few seconds after the knockdown to signify that they wanted to stop the fight.
With this win, Beterbiev retained his title belts and his perfect KO record as he's the only current boxer to hold this stat. The light heavyweight division is currently dominated by Russian fighters with Beterbiev holding two of the division title belts and Dmitry Bivol holding the WBA belt. While a bout between the two Russian fighters would be attractive stylistically, Bivol already has a scheduled match on May 1 against Craig Richards for Bivol's WBA title.
But there's another option for Beterbiev if the cards are played right. Long Island native Joe Smith Jr. and Russian's Maxim Vlasov will face off against each other on April 10 for the vacant WBO title belt. Should Smith Jr. be victorious in this match, then a potential match between him and Beterbiev will be the next best fight for Beterbiev. This potential fight would also be a title unification fight to unify three light heavyweight belts.