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Artur Beterbiev vs. Alexander Johnson on 6/12 on Spike in Chicago, Illinois

beterbiev66By Dan Ambrose: #2 IBF, #4 WBA, #4 WBC, #5 WBO light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev (8-0, 8 KOs) will be facing replacement opponent Alexander Johnson (16-2, 7 KOs) on June 12th on Premier Boxing Champions on Spike TV in a 12 round bout at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois.

The 33-year-old Johnson replaces Doudou Ngumbu for the fight. It’s not much of a change, as both fighters are roughly the same in talent. Beterbiev will likely have as easy a time beating Alexander Johnson as he would if he’d faced Ngumbu.

Beterbiev, 30, is quickly moving up the rankings, and he should be No.1 with the IBF by this year. He’s heading for a showdown with either IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev or WBC champ Adonis Stevenson. WBA regular champion Juergen Braehmer would seem like an unlikely fight for Beterbiev because Braehmer is being matched very carefully.

The only way that Beterbiev gets that fight is if he can get the WBA mandatory spot, and that might take until next year for that to happen. Beterbiev has a choice of which champion he wants to fight. He can take on the guy that is considered to be the best fighter in the division by many fans in facing Kovalev, or he can look to face Stevenson or Braehmer. Stevenson would be a good fight if Beterbiev can get him. That’s a fight that might be tough to get because Stevenson could make Beterbiev wait for the fight.

The Beterbiev-Johnson fight will be televised on Spike starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on June 12th on Premier Boxing Champions.

In the main event, WBA World junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (20-2-2, 12 KOs) defends his title against Delvin Rodriguez (28-7-4, 16 KOs). This is voluntary defense for Lara, and that’s why he’s fighting a guy that has lost a couple of times recently. About the best that we can hope for in this fight is for Rodriguez to stay on his feet the entire fight and not get knocked out like he did against Miguel Cotto in 2013.

Rodriguez’s record in his last two fights is 0-1-1. He fought to a 10 round draw against Joachim Alcine last year in May. Rodriguez has been out of action for an entire year now. Lara’s management obviously could have picked a better opponent than Rodriguez for this title defense, but Rodriguez at least is someone that the casual boxing fans will recognize. His career isn’t what it once was, but he’s still a name that some fans will know.

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