Despite layoff, Artur Beterbiev says he’s ready for top 175-pounders
On Saturday, Artur Beterbiev returns to action almost a year to the day after his last fight. He’ll face Ezequiel Maderna in the main event of an ESPN broadcast from the Bell Center in Montreal.
Since the heavy-handed Russian stopped Alexander Johnson in seven rounds last June, he’s been sidelined because of shoulder issues.
Thankfully, now everything is healed and THE RING’s No. 9-rated light heavyweight is ready to cause panic in the already stacked division.
“I am just happy to be back in competition after a couple of months, off due to an injury,” Beterbiev told RingTV.com through Dokk Dudayev. “I had problems with my right shoulder for a long time. We already knew at one point that I would need surgery. Everything went well and my coach and I took the full recovery time to work on other aspects of my boxing.”
Although the delay in his career wasn’t ideal, the even-tempered Canadian transplant remains philosophical about the future.
“Yes, it was frustrating,” he admitted. “But, at the same time, this was out of my control and I have the tendency to focus only on what I can control.”
Apparently, he has integrated well since moving to Canada from Russia just over three years ago. One of his children was born in Montreal, the other two speak English and Beterbiev is taking classes to improve.
Beterbiev, (9-0, 9 knockouts) is eager to test himself against Maderna now that he has been cleared to fight again. The hardnosed Argentine has lost twice in 25 contests, both times on points.
“Maderna is a good challenge for my comeback,” said the 31-year-old. “He is a complete fighter, an Olympian with good technique, but this will be his first fight at 175 pounds.”
He refuses to be drawn in on the subject of the big noises in the division.
“My first objective is to have a good performance against Maderna,” he said. “After, my manager and my promoter will negotiate what is best for me. I feel that I’m already ready to challenge the three world champions (Sergey Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson and Juergen Braehmer, who holds the WBA ‘regular’ title).”
Yvon Michel’s GYM promotional company is heavily invested in the light heavyweight division. Along with Beterbiev, he also works with WBC ruler Stevenson and No. 4-rated Eleider Alvarez.
Michel is understandably high on Beterbiev.
“Right now, we really think Artur Beterbiev is the most dangerous challenger, pound-for-pound, in the world,” said Michel. “The question is not if he is ready, because he already is. The real question is when he will have the opportunity to fight for a world title.”
All being well, Michel has a clear plan for his fighter.
“If everything goes well against Maderna, we want him to fight two more times this year, possibly in September and December. Those bouts will be on PBC for maximum exposure.
“The main objective is to aim for all the belts (WBO, IBF and WBA) retained by Sergey Kovalev. If Artur did not injure himself, he would already be the IBF mandatory challenger. This injury delayed his chance for a title by a year.
“We also want people to realize that Artur is on his way to becoming a superstar.”
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