Light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev is looking to part ways with his promoter Yvon Michel, ESPN reports. The unexpected move leaves some doubts as to how Beterbiev’s career with move forward from here.
"My dear friends, fans and supporters, as many of you have already heard, my lawyer has filed [Tuesday] morning a demand for Declaratory Judgment asking the Superior Court in Montreal to confirm that my promotional agreement with Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM) is effectively terminated/expired," Beterbiev said in a statement posted on social media.
Beterbiev continued by saying that he has no problem with Yvon Michel and provided no insight as to why he wants to leave part ways with the promoter, but at least one source said that Beterbiev has not been paid his minimum purses nor received his minimum number of fights he signed up for (although he was on the sidelined for a year between 2015 and 2016 following a shoulder injury).
Yvon Michel acknowledges that Beterbiev is looking to part ways but does says that he believes his company has strong arguments to suggest that Beterbiev is still under contract with them, specifically saying:
“Beterbiev is considering his contract is terminated with GYM and he is asking a Quebec judge to confirm it. We believe otherwise and we have arguments to back it up. It may take several weeks before having a judgment. Meantime we are still Beterbiev's promoter and we have made a deal with [Team] Sauerland representative Chris Meyer for the services of Enrico Koelling for the IBF title eliminator [to be] the mandatory contender to Andre Ward."
But as this gets sorted out, it’s unclear whether or not Beterbiev, who is aligned with powerful manager Al Haymon, will participate in eliminator under Michel’s banner, tentatively scheduled for July 29 in Quebec. Per IBF regulations, the eliminator must take place before the beginning of August.
Beterbiev had originally be lined-up to take on Sullivan Barrera in an eliminator match on April 21, but Barrera would ultimately withdraw from the fight as he wasn’t satisfied with the purse he’d be receiving once Michel won the rights to promote the bout (Barrera would’ve earned $62,750).
With Barrera dropping out, Michel had to go down the IBF’s ranking list to find someone willing to take the fight. Germany’s Enrico Koelling eventually took the call and the fight — a fight that may now be in doubt.