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Beterbiev wants Barrera or Gvozdyk for eliminator fight

Artur Beterbiev boxing photo

By Allan Fox: Undefeated #2 IBF Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) is hoping that either #9 IBF Sullivan Barrera or Oleksandr Gvozdyk will agree to face him in an International Boxing Federation eliminator bout in his next fight to decide the #1 mandatory challenger to IBF light heavyweight champion Andre Ward.

Thus far, #4 Sean Monaghan and #5 Enrico Kölling has said to have chosen not to take the fight with Beterbiev. Beterbiev is counting on Sullivan Barrera agreeing to the fight. He recently picked up an impressive stoppage win over contender Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.

If Barrera or Gvozdyk choose not to face Beterbiev in the eliminator, then IBF will need to keep working down the list of contenders in their top 15 rankings. The next contender on the list is #11 Robert Stieglitz, #12 Trent Broadhurst, #13 Chad Dawson, #14 Michael Lee and #15 Radivoje Kalajdric. Surely, one of them would likely agree to fight Beterbiev. You never know though, because Beterbiev is looking so good right now with him knocking out everyone he’s faced since turning pro in 2013 after competing in two Olympics for Russia. Beterbiev has ton of punching power, and great boxing skills to go along with them.

Beterbiev vs. Gvozdyk would be a great fight. Gvozdyk is an unbeaten Olympian from Ukraine, and he’s shown good punching power since turning pro in 2014. Gvozdyk recently defeated highly ranked former world title challenger Isaac Chilemba by a 7th round stoppage last November. Gvozdyk would be a good option for Beterbiev. However, it’s debatable whether Gvozdyk’s promoters at Top Rank would want to throw him into the ring with Beterbiev.

Gvozdyk was knocked down and badly hurt by Tommy Karpency last July. It was not the greatest performance by Gvozdyk, who showed a chin problem in that fight, and was easily hittable by Karpency. Beterbiev would be a very tough fight for Gvozdyk right now, and it’s possible Top Rank might go in another direction.

In Beterbiev’s last five fights, he’s beaten the following fighters: Isidro Ranoni Prieto, Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna Alexander “Woody” Johnson, Gabriel Campillo, and Jeff Page Jr.

Here’s what Beterbiev said on his Twitter about a news update to his boxing career:

“Artur Beterbiev: My dear fans and supporters! To judge from your comments, I know that you are looking forward to know the name of my future opponent. As expected, Enrico Kölling from Germany followed suit of the last top three IBF boxers and declined the fight. The IBF just sent an invitation letter to the next-ranked fighter, an American of Cuban origin, Sullivan Barrera. He is an experienced and strong boxer whose professional record consists of 18 wins (13 knockouts) and only one loss (by unanimous decision) to the current WBA, IBF, and WBO light heavyweight title holder and a two-division world champion Andre Ward. Sullivan Barrera should give his answer by January 19, 2017. Despite the personal opinion of my promoter Yvon Michel who tweeted (quote) “I have a feeling @sullivanbarrera will find a reason and turned it down also” (unquote), I do believe that Sullivan Barrera will have a final word in his team and accept the challenge to fight me. If not, the IBF will send an invitation letter to the Ukrainian Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Have a good day!”

Beterbiev wants to get a shot at the winner of the Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev fight. Beterbiev has the inside fighting skills to match up well with the 32-year-old Ward, who used an inside strategy of wrestling Kovalev for the last nine rounds of their 12 round fight to beat him last November, albeit by a very controversial decision. It was a decision that many of the boxing fans and members of the media disagreed with, including superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. Never the less, you have to expect Ward to go back to his wrestling/MMA style of inside grappling in the rematch with Kovalev if he chooses not to retire from the sport.

Beterbiev would do well against Ward in this type of fighting. If that’s all Ward can do at this point is fight on the inside like that, then he probably won’t last long against Beterbiev, who is able to throw short punches with maximum power even while being held in a clinch. Beterbiev is an exceptional fighter when it comes to the inside work. Ward is going to have a lot of problems if he goes back to that game plan for a fight against Beterbiev in the future.

Sullivan Barrera says he doesn’t understand why the top contenders in the 175lb division don’t want to fight Beterbiev. Barrera said this on his social medial site about Beterbiev:

“I no understand why people no fight Beterbiev,” said Barrera. “Some good boxers pass on combat with [him]. Why you think this? @ Sean Monaghan. Why?”

Barrera has the option of fighting Beterbiev if he wants to. He can be the one that shows the bravery by electing to fight him. Of course, it’s not only up to Barrera. It’s also up to his promoters at Main Events if they want to take that fight.

Barrera is coming off of a great win over Shabranskyy, and perhaps they might not want to throw him into the deep end so soon against Beterbiev after a good win. Beterbiev is a bad style match-up for Barrera, who prefers to fight on the outside where he pot shots his opponents with big power shots. If Beterbiev gets inside on Barrera, he’ll likely make quick work of the Cuban fighter.

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