Artur Beterbiev ready for Joe Smith Jr. fight - 'It's just a matter of negotiation'

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Artur Beterbiev is ready to take on Joe Smith Jr. in a unification clash, according to his trainer.

The 37-year-old Russian boasts an unbeaten record and the IBF and WBC light heavyweight belts, while Smith Jr. is the WBO champion.

Ahead of the American’s most recent fight against Steven Geffrard, who stepped in as a late replacement for Callum Johnson, Smith claimed he had agreed to fight Russian on a number of occasions but nothing had materialised.

Another Russian, Dmitry Bivol, holds the WBA title but as he is not a Top Rank fighter like the other pair, negotiations may be less straightforward.

Speaking to BoxingScene.com, Marc Ramsay explained the situation as he saw it.

“It's really funny how the reality of some is not that [the same as] others,” he began.

 “We received only one call from Top Rank asking about our interest in a fight with Joe Smith at MSG and we told them we were interested and ready to listen to the offer. After that, they never contacted us about it. We didn't even have the chance to talk about money. 

“A month later, [Top Rank] contacted us to tell us that we had to defend our title against mandatory WBC contender Marcus Browne, which we did.”

Ramsay said that discussions had been held over the subject and he and Beterbiev are open to the fight.

“We recently had some discussions on this subject of fighting Smith and if the terms of the offer are acceptable, our answer will be affirmative. 

"Right now, it's just a matter of negotiation,” Ramsay added. “With Arthur, it's never personal. The goal he’s set for himself is to hold the other belts, that's all.”

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