Sullivan Barrera, once more proving himself among the ballsiest men in the light heavyweight division, has reportedly agreed to face Artur Beterbiev for a shot at Andre Ward’s IBF title. Google Translate relays the announcement, which comes from Beterbiev promoter Yvon Michel, as such:
Group Yvon Michel announced on Friday that his foal Artur Beterbiev will be able to face the Cuban Sullivan Barrera with the endorsement of the International Boxing Federation (IBF).
Sergey Kovalev, Erik Skoglund and Sean Monaghan have all previously refused to fight with Beterbiev in an IBF lightweight heats match.
Barrera (18-1, 13 KOs) himself asked his promoter Kathy Duva to take up the Beterbiev challenge (11-0, 11 KO).
The winner of a Beterbiev-Barrera duel will determine the compulsory contender for the category, whose title belongs to the American Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KO).
Barrera was defeated by a unanimous decision of the judges in Oakland last March against Ward. It was the first defeat of his career.
For his part, Beterbiev is still unbeaten in 11 professional fights. Each of his winnings was signed by K.-O., whose triumph in a round on Isidro Ranoni Prieto in Gatineau during the holiday season.
What’s your favorite bit in that translation? Mine’s "his foal Artur Beterbiev."
Anyway, Michel, Beterbiev, and Barrera all chimed in on social media, which is reason enough for me to get hyped. This is the big step up we’ve been expecting from Beterbiev since he turned Gabriel Campillo inside-out two years ago. Barrera will be his toughest opponent to date, an iron-willed bruiser who just recently destroyed fellow prospect Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
I don’t even care if Ward retires rather than face the winner. Please make this happen.