Top Rank won the rights to the title fight between Artur Beterbiev and Marcus Browne on Tuesday, topping TGB Promotions’ $1,000,001 offer with a $1,005,00 bid of their own. Artur Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KO), who is promoted by Top Rank, will defend his titles against the WBC’s mandatory challenger after successfully turning away the IBF’s mandatory his last time in the ring.
Marcus Browne (24-1, 16 KO) receives this opportunity thanks to his #1 ranking with the WBC, despite losing a technical decision against Jean Pascal in 2019, sitting out all of 2020, and going the distance with an aging Denis Grachev in April. Beterbiev has dealt with some adversity since unifying the IBF and WBC titles against Oleksandr Gvozdyk in October, 2019, seeing several dates cancelled due to Covid and suffering a broken rib, before finally making his return with a 10th-round TKO of Adam Deines in April.
Beterbiev is due some good luck, so fingers crossed that nothing comes up to derail this defense. Provided Beterbiev takes care of business against Browne, and Joe Smith Jr makes a full recovery and defends his WBO title against Umar Salamov in the near future, Top Rank will have the opportunity to make a significant, and likely very fan-friendly light-heavyweight title unification.