Russian knockout king set for London showdown
Unbeaten Russian knockout artist Artur Beterbiev is scheduled to take on WBO mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde in London on January 28, according to the Brit’s promoter Frank Warren.
Speaking to iFL TV on Yarde’s next steps, Warren, who also promotes heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, said his fighter will first take a tune-up fight on the same card as rising WBO International super-middleweight champion Zach Parker in November.
“And then he’ll have the fight for the three titles, and that’ll be on the 28th of January next year,” Warren added.
Beterbiev was expected to defend his IBF, WBC and WBO light heavyweight titles against Yarde on October 29 at the O2 Arena in London.
Those plans were scrapped, however, when Beterbiev picked up a minor injury related to a right knee operation he underwent after beating Joe Smith Jr at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theatre in June.
“It wasn’t even arthroscopic surgery, it was just to clean out the interior (of his knee),” Beterbiev's trainer Marc Ramsay explained to Le Journal de Montreal in Beterbiev’s adopted hometown in August.
“Some of the tissue had deteriorated over time. It was really a minor thing. After the operation, he took two weeks off and he has already returned to training.”
Ramsay revealed that Beterbiev, 37, had already returned to the gym and was awaiting confirmation of his next fight from promoter Top Rank.
“I saw what had been written in the American media. They seemed to have exaggerated a bit … He can easily fight in November or December,” Ramsay added.
Beterbiev appears set for a return to action in January if Warren’s claims are accurate, and he should have few problems beating Yarde while looking to extend his perfect 100% record of 18 knockouts in 18 victories.
Yarde, 31, also brings punching power to the table with 21 of his 22 wins coming by way of knockout, but he has been beaten twice, including a TKO defeat to Beterbiev’s compatriot Sergey Kovalev for the WBO title in 2019 when he was stopped in the 11th round.
Providing WBA champion Dmitry Bivol beats Gilberto Ramirez in Abu Dhabi on November 5, and Beterbiev gets past Yarde, the stage should be set for an all-Russian superfight to crown an undisputed champion at 175lbs later in 2023.
Both Beterbiev and Bivol have expressed interest in fighting one another for all four belts.
But Top Rank chief Bob Arum, whose promotion has a broadcasting deal with ESPN in the US, poured cold water on the showdown in June.
Arum is reluctant to do business with streaming platform DAZN where fighters such as Bivol in Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom stable have their fights shown.
“One thing with Beterbiev is that now that he is known by the public and that so many people have seen him… we won't do a fight on 'Dead-Zone' (DAZN) for anyone to see,” Arum said to Boxing Scene.
For Arum, the only way that the bout can materialize is if Hearn agrees for it to be transmitted by ESPN.