Artur Beterbiev’s planned matchup with Sullivan Barrera has fallen through for a second time, and as a result, it looks as though Beterbiev will defend his IBF title against #4 Sven Fornling in Stockton on May 4th. Mike Coppinger revealed the date, location, and ESPN broadcast yesterday, with LaPresse releasing what looks to be a more definitive statement on Fornling being the opponent today.
The location appears to be designed to highlight 18-year-old prospect and Stockton native Gabriel Flores Jr., whom LaPresse states will appear on the card.
The IBF doesn’t currently have a #1 or #2 in their light heavyweight rankings, so Fornling (15-1, 7 KO) is actually second from the top behind Dominic Boesel. BoxRec has him ranked 10th in the division, mostly on the strength of his December decision over Karo Murat.
Beterbiev (13-0, 13 KO) has been jawing with Sergey Kovalev on the possibility of a unification bout. One would hope that the plans will still be on the table once this is over.