Artur Beterbiev's IBF light heavyweight title defense set for later this year is no longer happening, at least not until 2019.
According to a report from ESPN, the light heavyweight title fight between Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr. originally slated for December 15, has been postponed. The fight was supposed to take place as the co-main event bout to the card taking place at Madison Square Garden.
Beterbiev, who won the then-vacant IBF title in 2017, made his first title defense in Chicago on October when he knocked out Callum Johnson. Beterbiev and Smith appeared set to take place on December 15, but the ESPN report stated that Beterbiev was not going to be ready in time for the fight against an opponent of Smith's caliber. At the moment, the two camps will work towards a fight to take place sometime in February 2019.
The card will be streamed in the United States and in Canada exclusively on the DAZN streaming service. The main event of that show will be Canelo Alvarez vs. Rocky Fielding for the WBA "regular" super middleweight title.
With the fight between Beterbiev and Smith no longer taking a spot on the card, it opens up the possibility of having another fighter be in the co-main event. One fight being under consideration is Tevin Farmer's second IBF super featherweight title defense. Farmer won his title earlier this year and then made his first title defense on that same October boxing card in Chicago, defeating James Tennyson.