Artur Beterbiev vs. Sullivan Barrera on April 21
By Allan Fox: #2 IBF Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) revealed earlier today the news that he’ll be facing #6 IBF Sullivan Barrera (18-1, 13 KOs) in an International Boxing Federation light heavyweight eliminator bout on April 21 in Miami, Florida.
The exact venue still isn’t known for the Beterbiev-Barrera fight at this time, but it’s expected to be announced soon. The winner of the fight will be the #1 IBF mandatory challenger to IBF 175lb champion Andre Ward.
It still remains to be seen whether Ward will ever defend his IBF title against the winner of the Beterbiev vs. Barrera fight as there’s uncertainty whether he’ll retire or not. If Ward does continue his career, it could be just for a rematch against Sergey Kovalev, who he beat by a close 12 round unanimous decision on November 19 last year. That’s a good money fight for Ward, which may be too good for him to pass up. However, Ward defending against the winner of the Beterbier-Barrera fight won’t be a big money title defense for him.
Ward already beat Barrera by a 12 round unanimous decision on March 26 last year. It would probably be difficult for Ward to get motivated for a second fight against him. Beterbiev would be a dangerous fight for Ward, and it’s unclear whether he’ll want to take a risky fight like that because he wouldn’t be able to use the same wrestling techniques that helped him beat Kovalev by a controversial decision. Beterbiev is a very good inside fighter, and Ward would have his hands full against him.
Beterbiev had this to say on his Instagram today about his fight with Barrera:
“It is my privilege to share the latest news about my upcoming fight against American boxer of Cuban origin Sullivan Barrera with all of you,” said Beterbiev. “The bout has been scheduled for April 21, 2017 in Miami (Florida, USA). I know that my opponent lives and trains in Miami, such that the arena will be crammed full of his fellow compatriots for the most important fight in my professional career to date. However, this does not bother me at all because I firmly believe that a real sportsman who wishes to reach the top must be ready to fight in any environment and in any conditions. I am taking this opportunity to thank Sullivan again for having the last word at the critical stage in arranging our bout. I consider the fight against him as another step to achieve the main goal in my professional career. I look forward to this fight and hope that you will stand behind me as you have done for every fight of my career so far. I sincerely wish you all the best!” said Barrera.
Beterbiev-Barrera should be an excellent fight. Barrera looked sharp in beating Vyacheslav Shabranskyy by a 7th round knockout in his last fight on December 16. Barrera will need to be in top form like that for him to have a chance against Beterbiev, because he’s a much different type of fighter than Shabranskyy. It’s a very tough fight on paper for Barrera facing a power puncher like Beterbiev. It might be a step too far for the 34-year-old Barrera.
The 32-year-old Beterbiev has looked great in his last two fights since coming back from a 1-year layoff after suffering a shoulder injury. Beterbiev beat Isidro Prieto by a 1st round knockout on December 23 last year, and before that, he stopped Ezequiel Maderna by a 4th round knockout last June.
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