As a young boy, he dreamed of being an astronaut. As a grown man, he sends other dudes into orbit.
“I don’t think about knockouts,” says Artur Beterbiev, a fellow who brings the lumber with oak-hard fists. “I don’t plan on knockouts.”
Instead, he just goes out and gets them.
All eight of Beterbiev’s pro fights have ended in a KO victory for the swiftly ascending 175-pounder.
Many of said knockouts are awesome in their destruction, like watching time-lapse footage of a building being demolished.
Take Beterbiev’s last fight, against former 175-pound champ Gabriel Campillo in April. Beterbiev hit Campillo so hard, the flesh on his opponent's face rippled the way pond water does after a brick has been plunged into it.
Beterbiev tagged Campillo with a right uppercut followed by a left hook that sent him crumbling to the canvas, fumbling for his footing and consciousness alike, and finding neither.
Beterbiev savaged another former 175-pound champ, Tavoris Cloud, in September with that spring-loaded left hook, sending him flat on his belly. He hit journeyman Rayco Saunders so hard in September 2013 that Saunders’ eyes rolled into the back of his head like the wheels on a slot machine, and he blasted the overmatched Christian Cruz so thoroughly in his pro debut in June 2013 that all Cruz could do when it was over was shake his head and wonder what country he was in.
Beterbiev scores so many knockdowns, his opponents spend more time on their knees than they do when in church.
Still, the Russia-born boxer, who now fights out of his adopted home of Montreal, is almost coy about his power.
“I never really tried my punches on myself,” he says somewhat cheekily, speaking through an interpreter. “I didn’t realize I had that much power.”
On this day, Beterbiev’s words are the opposite of his punches: measured.
He gets right to the point quickly, succinctly, wasting not a breath, the exact same business-minded disposition that he displays in the ring.
Basically, he’s the verbal equivalent of a one-punch knockout artist.
A decorated amateur who won silver at the 2007 World Amateur Championships and gold at the same event two years later, Beterbiev is now on the fast track as a pro.
Johnson will have to respect Beterbiev’s power, right?
“That’s how you think. I don’t think like that,” Beterbiev says. “I don’t think I have that much power.”
We’d argue, but with Beterbiev’s eight-fight KO streak still intact, we’ll go ahead and let somebody else be number nine.