Artur Beterbiev continued his lengthy knockout streak on the first Matchroom Boxing USA card streamed on DAZN, but not before Beterbiev got a major scare in his fight.
After knocking down Callum Johnson in the first round of their IBF light heavyweight title fight, Johnson responded with a knockdown of his own in the second round. Beterbiev eventually knocked out Johnson in the fourth round to retain the his title.
The fight started off with a bang as both men looked ready and willing to trade numerous power punches to each other. Late in the first round during an exchange, Johnson’s head was out of the ring and Beterbiev held back his punches to avoid doing anything illegal, but as Johnson’s head got back in the ring, Beterbiev landed a short right hand to knock down Johnson.
Johnson then landed a left hook to Beterbiev in the second round to take down the champion. But after some more exchanges in the third round, Beterbiev connected with a big right hook in the fourth round, taking down Johnson to the point he wasn’t able to fully get back up by the time the referee counted to 10.
This was Beterbiev’s first world title defense since winning the then-vacant belt with a knockout victory over Enrico Koelling last November on ESPN. Beterbiev has only fought a dozen fights in his pro career, but not only has he won all 12 fights, he won them all by knockout. A number of top contenders has avoided a potential title shot against Beterbiev and so the title opportunity was given to Johnson, fighting in his first-ever world championship bout.
The fight took place at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago on a card that also featured the likes of Jessie Vargas, Jarrell Miller and Daniel Roman competing as well.