One of boxing’s most frustratingly inactive talents is taking steps to correct that. Canada’s TVA Sports reported last week that IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Artur Beterbiev, whose conflicts with former promoter Yvon Michel kept him out of the ring for eleven months last year, has signed on with Top Rank. Talks are reportedly underway for him to defend his title against Marcus Browne on April 19th.
Beterbiev (12-0, 12 KO) smashed Enrico Koelling last November to earn the IBF title in his first fight since crushing Isidro Prieto in 2:44 the previous December. He’s among the hardest punchers in the sport period, not even pound-for-pound, which is why it’s been so agonizing to watch his athletic prime slip away. He’s essentially gone nowhere since his breakout beatdown of Tavoris Cloud and subsequent finish of Gabriel Campillo.
We can only hope his relationship with Top Rank proves more fruitful.
Browne (21-0, 16 KO) is the highest-ranked IBF contender and is due for a step up. While it would have been nice to see Beterbiev against the Kovalevs/Bivols/Barreras of the world right away, this is a good fight and I hope they put it together.