Artur Beterbiev: ‘Radivoje Kalajdzic is a strong boxer, he has power. We’ve prepared for this fight’
Ferocious puncher Artur Beterbiev will put his IBF light heavyweight title on the line for the second time when he meets Radivoje Kalajdzic at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, California on Saturday.
Beterbiev, who is ranked No. 6 by The Ring at 175 pounds, is eager to fight and intends to make a big statement.
“I am ready for this fight,” Beterbiev (13-0, 13 knockouts) told The Ring via friend and translator Aslanbek Khodashev. “I had good training and sparring.
“[Kalajdzic’s] a good boxer, a strong boxer, he has power, he’s a little bit taller than me. Any boxer can do something well, something bad. We watched some video. We’ve prepared for this fight with my team.
“It’s not my style [to trash talk]. I can say anything, but I don’t like that. I want to go in the ring and show what I can do. I will do my best. I hope he’s prepared well. We will see on May 4.”
Beterbiev’s activity has stalled since he won his world title in November 2017. He fought just once that year and only once last year due to issues with his former promoter. The 34-year-old is now fully focused on progressing.
“I don’t like to talk about the past,” Beterbiev said. “I’m happy everything is in the past. I’m happy to sign a contract with Top Rank and now I go into the future with a new company, the best company in the world, I think.
“It’s not my fault when I’m not active in the past because I’m ready for any fight. Now I’m ready to do my work.”
Beterbiev had initially signed with Matchroom Boxing and defeated Callum Johnson in the fourth-round of a firefight last October.
“This is a good fight, it was another experience,” said Beterbiev in relation to being dropped in Round 2. “Callum Johnson was a good boxer, good power, but this is boxing, you don’t know what happens.
“Many fans come from Callum Johnson after the fight and say, ‘Congratulations, you are a good boxer.’ I appreciate that. We gave a good fight to fans.”
A former Russian amateur standout, Beterbiev moved to Montreal when he turned professional in 2013. He now lives and trains there under the stewardship of the highly-regarded Mark Ramsey. In preparation for this fight, he has had an eight-week camp.
Beterbiev hopes, all going well against the dangerous Kalajdzic, that he can meet some of the other 175-pound titleholders in unification bouts.
“The light heavyweight division is very interesting, I like that,” he said. “I want to be the No. 1 in the light heavyweight division, that is my goal. The other champions are good boxers, I respect them, they have belts and we will see what happens in the future.
“I know them all personally. I had fights in the amateurs with [Oleksandr] Gvozdyk and [Sergey] Kovalev, I won those fights. I had sparring with [Dmitry] Bivol. I don’t know who the best is of those three, to know that we need to get in the ring and have fights. I can fight any one of them. All my focus is May 4 on Kalajdzic.”
Kalajdzic (24-1, 17 KOs) is originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina but moved to the U.S. and made his debut in 2011. The 27-year-old received some attention when he ran Olympian Marcus Browne close, dropping a disputed split decision in 2016, his lone blemish in 25 fights. The fighter known as “Hot Rod” has won three bouts since.
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