By Luke Furman
IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (13-0, 13 KOs) has interest in several potential fights on the horizon.
But one fight in particular, which at the moment is not even close to being in the mix, is a potential clash with WBC, WBO, IBF, WBA cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs).
They fought twice in the amateurs, and on both occasions Usyk walked away as the winner – in the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Championship and in the 2012 Olympic Games – where Usyk won Olympic gold.
Beterbiev is not convinced that he lost in the second fight, but also admits the fight is not likely as he doesn’t plan to go to cruiserweight in the near future, and Usyk is likely heading up to heavyweight by next year.
“I do not think that I lost to him at the Olympics. By the way, both of these fights [in the amateurs] were handled by the same referee. But I do not to discuss the decisions of the judges. After all, he not only became a champion [in the Olympics], he continues to be one….well done! It would theoretically be interesting for me to meet with Usyk in the professional ring, although I don’t know how likely this would be. When I boxed with him, I weighed 185 to 187-pounds and right now I do not plan to gain weight,” Beterbiev told Vasily Konov.
Beterbiev is coming back at the end of the year, reportedly against Joe Smith. There is still a promotional legal battle being played out with Yvon Michel.
“The situation is this: they offered a fight with Joe Smith in the United States, but so far I have not signed anything. After defending the IBF championship belt in a fight with Callum Johnson, I immediately came to Russia, I want to share my achievements here. I proudly represent my country. I have always been here for Russia,” Beterbiev said.
“I’m still [in court] with [Michel]. While the court has ruled that our contract continues – we appealed the ruling, but I respect the decision of the court. I continue to accept offers from Yvon. For example, he presented my last fight, along with with Eddie Hearn – and I accepted it. And the next fight he’s also presented to me along with Hearn. But, again, the processes in court with Michel are going on.”
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org.