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Artur Beterbiev vs. Sullivan Barrera slated for IBF eliminator

The winner will become Sergey Kovalev's mandatory challenger

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

The WBC's not the only outfit in town with an intriguing light heavyweight showdown on the docket.

After failing to secure fights with the likes of Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev, top prospect Artur Beterbiev finally has an opponent: unbeaten Cuban Sullivan Barrera, who has agreed to face the Russian knockout artist in a bout to determine the IBF mandatory challenger.

As with the other eliminator, neither a date nor location have been selected.

Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KO) erupted onto the light heavyweight scene by demolishing Tavoris Cloud in just his sixth pro fight. Since then, he's also smashed spoiler extraordinaire Gabriel Campillo and finally gone past the fourth round in his knockout of Alexander Johnson.

Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal, among others, reportedly turned down fights against him, leading to this bout with IBF #9 Barrera.

Barrera (16-0, 11 KO) beat down the broken husk of Jeff Lacy this past January before knocking Hakim Zoulikha, who was on a three-fight losing streak, in what was apparently a tougher out than expected.

Ideally, things will go as planned and the winner (let's not kid ourselves, it's going to be Beterbiev) will get to fight Kovalev. We can dream.

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