iFL TV released a lengthy interview with Frank Warren earlier today, and among the topics discuessed was Artur Beterbiev’s WBO mandatory title defense against Anthony Yarde. Though the bout was targeted for this coming October, Warren claimed he’d been “hearing” that the unified champion could be injured.
Jake Donovan later confirmed the news, with Warren adding that Yarde (22-2, 21 KO) could stay busy in November while Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KO) is on the mend. No word as to the specifics, though Beterbiev did undergo leg surgery after smashing Joe Smith Jr. earlier this summer.
This is sadly familiar territory for Beterbiev. When it’s not promotional issues or global pandemics keeping him out of the ring, it’s injury or illness. He hasn’t fought more than twice in a calendar year since 2014.
As Donovan points out, he’ll likely return to a mandatory backlog. Callum Smith vs. Mathieu Bauderlique this Saturday will determine his next WBC challenger, while Joshua Buatsi and Jean Pascal are scheduled for a purse bid in the coming days on the IBF side. If there’s a silver lining, though, it’s that the timing could work out better for a hypothetical undisputed fight with Dmitry Bivol; the latter is slated to meet “Zurdo” Ramirez next ahead of a May 2023 rematch with Canelo Alvarez, meaning Beterbiev would have had to take at least one other fight after Yarde to keep the sanctioning bodies happy.
Or maybe I’m just grasping for an upside after once again watching one of the most destructive fighters of this generation languish on the sidelines.