With WBA champ Joe Smith Jr. off doing his own thing, unified WBC/IBF champion Artur Beterbiev is in need of a dance partner, and Mauricio Sulaiman has found one for him. The WBC president tells ESPN that he’s ordered Beterbiev to fight mandatory challenger and serial domestic abuser Marcus Browne. The pair have until September 17th come to terms.
Sulaiman also ordered a middleweight eliminator between Jaime Munguia and Sergey Derevyanchenko, but besides it being profoundly stupid to give Derevyanchenko another eliminator when he just got dominated by champion Jermall Charlo, Munguia’s already the WBO mandatory and has a brewing tussle with Gabriel Rosado on deck. No reason for him to take this fight.
Browne (24-1, 16 KO) was linked to an interim title fight with “Zurdo” Ramirez earlier this year, but Ramirez instead turned his attention to chasing WBA champ Dmitry Bivol, leaving Browne to cruise past an extremely shot Denis Grachev in April. The fight was his first since hitting the deck three times in a wonky August 2019 technical decision loss to Jean Pascal.
Why that win earned him the #1 spot in the WBC rankings is known only to Sulaiman.
Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KO), who also missed all of 2020, got his IBF mandatory out of the way in March with a steady beatdown of the very brave Adam Deines. The stage was perfectly set for a unification clash with Top Rank stablemate Smith, but that didn’t quite work out, so here we are.
Smith’s not going to be available until next spring at the earliest, so I suppose there are worse ways to keep Beterbiev busy.