Beterbiev Looks Poised – This past Saturday night if you saw the Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN broadcast you saw Russia’s Artur Beterbiev (9-0) defend his WBA North American title with a fourth round stoppage over Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna (23-3) of Argentina.
Maderna was considered a step up in competition for Beterbiev, who at 31 years old is trying to advance his professional career quickly after a long and distinguished amateur career. Maderna too had an amatuer pedigree on his resume, and as a pro he had taken Thomas Oosthuizen and Edwin Rodriguez the distance, but on Saturday he had little to answer Beterbiev’s firepower. Beterbiev knocked him down twice in round three, and Maderna was also penalized a point for spitting out his mouth piece. Two more knockdowns came quickly in round 4, and the Argentine’s corner threw in the towel.
It was a business-like win for Beterbiev who now is 10-0 as a professional. The WBA North American trinket could put him in line to face one of the WBA’s titlists. The WBA recognizes fellow Russian Sergey Kovalev as it’s “Super” champion, while Germany’s Juergen Braehmer holds their “regular” world title. An interim version of the WBA belt is also out there. Dmitry Bivol beat Felix Valera in May for that trinket.
Kovalev is the most appealing fight, as he is the number one in the division and also holds the IBF and WBO versions of the world belt. The thought of fighting a fellow Russian is no detriment at all, however Kovalev is booked to fight Isaac Chilemba this coming July 11th and he is widely expected to be facing Andre Ward to close out his 2016. That would rule out a meeting with Kovalev this year, and Kovalev’s relationship with cable giant HBO could be a sticking point as well.
The only one of the bigger world titles not in Kovalev’s hands is the WBC belt held by Adonis Stevenson. Beterbiev has fought nine of his 10 career professional bouts in Canada, and the Haitian born Stevenson is also based out of fight-hungry Montreal. That the two share a promoter in Canada’s Yvon Michel makes a Beterbiev vs Stevenson showdown a much more likely option. For now, Stevenson is set to return to action on July 16th as he faces Thomas Williams Jr (20-1) but a Stevenson-Beterbiev match is in play for the end of the year. An open question will be whether Beterbiev takes another fight before then.
Beterbiev sees the acclaim his fellow amateur standouts are getting. Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev are almost always in the discussion for top 10 pound for pound best fighters out there, and Beterbiev has to believe that is where his ceiling is also. The light heavyweight division will be wide open in 2017 as the Kovalev versus Ward match will bring HBO’s long awaited plans to fruition and it will leave the winner clearly atop the division. If he could, Beterbiev would borrow a phrase from street basketball, watching Kovalev vs Ward he would make sure the winner knows he’s “got next.”
Beterbiev Looks Poised