ARTUR BETERBIEV is the only world champion with a 100 per cent KO ratio - but the best light heavyweight in the world insists he finds no joy in knocking people out.

The 18-0 Russian, who currently resides in Montreal, Canada, has emerged as one of boxing’s foremost punchers over the course of his 10-year career which has gleaned the IBF, WBC and WBO titles at 175lbs.

He will put them all on the line on January 28 when he faces Brit Anthony Yarde, the mandatory challenger for his WBO strap, at the Wembley Arena, London. Beterbiev is a heavy favorite and odds makers believe another early finish from the champion is likely.

But if he does make it 19-0 (19), Beterbiev says the finishing shot will not bring him happiness.

“In this moment you close off your feelings,” the 37-year-old explains. 

“We have both signed a contract to fight. He is trying to hit me as hard as he can and I am doing the same. There are no feelings. 

“After the fight I just hope he is OK. Do I enjoy knocking people out? No. There’s no pleasure in it. I just hope everything is OK with them.

“I just want to do good boxing, not hit people.”

In fact, Beterbiev joked that one day people may give him credit for something other than punching very, very hard.

“I know for sure, 1000 percent, that the secret to my power is somewhere in my boxing gym but I don’t know exactly where,” he adds. 

“I don’t know which exercise or bag gave me this secret. I don’t know where it comes from. I wasn’t always like this either, it has come from working every day.

“But really my dream is to be a good boxer one day.”

Another key ambition for the 2009 world amateur champion is to hold all four belts at light-heavyweight, which will likely mean agreeing the long-awaited showdown with his compatriot Dimitry Bivol, the current incumbent of the WBA title.

“I need Bivol,” Beterbiev admits. “I’d prefer to fight Bivol because he has the one thing I need.

“I hope I fight him in 2023 but the hold up is not from my side, it’s from their side. In the last three years he always says he will fight me next but in this time we’ve done unification fights against Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Joe Smith. We’ve done that whereas he has just been talking about it.

“We used to be on the national team together as amateurs, I knew him then, but he is younger than me. We haven’t talked for 10 years now. He was 75kg back then, too small for me. We were never friends.”

But for now, Beterbiev must focus on the challenge of Yarde, whose tail is up as a result of three stoppage wins in a row since losing a split decision to Lyndon Arthur back in December 2012.

Victory for the Londoner would be one of the biggest upsets by a British boxer in decades but his opponent is adamant he is not taking the challenge lightly.

“I don’t know much about him,” Beterbiev says of Yarde. “We’ve watched several of his fights. He’s a good fighter, has good experience as a professional and he’s a boxer. He’s dangerous so I have to prepare for this fight like I always do.

“What motivates me is that first of all I have three belts and I need to defend them - I can’t just give them away. If someone wants these belts they need to fight. I’ll try to be 100 percent ready and we will fight them to see who is better. What motivates me right now is having these belts and needing to defend them - that’s it.”

Incidentally, this fight takes Beterbiev back to the city in which he last tasted defeat - his 2012 elimination from the London Olympics at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk. Yarde’s promoter Frank Warren pulled off a deal to get his man home advantage but Beterbiev has no problem travelling to defend his titles.

He said: “You know I would’ve preferred to have the fight in USA or Montreal but there is no big issue with going to London to fight. It’s boxing. In London there’s a ring, in the US there’s a ring and I fight in a ring. I think that’s enough for me.

“I was at the Tottenham stadium for the Fury-Chisora fight. It was a huge fight and I don’t think I’ve been to a show like that before. There was a full stadium with 60,000 fans. It was a very nice show and I liked it. There’s a chance I’ll fight in the UK again after this if it all goes to plan. There is nothing special. I can fight anywhere.”

On 2012, he added: “It was the Olympics and the result stands. I’m not happy about the result but I can’t say I’ve got bad memories of London. What happened has happened and it’s in the past, now we’re going for the future. We are excited and hope that everything in the future goes to plan.”

That task starts on January 28 but do not expect a celebration if he gets the job done early.