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 grab 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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