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Artur Beterbiev vs. Enrico Koelling for vacant IBF title on Nov.11

By Jim Dower: It’s now confirmed that Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) and Enrico Koelling (23-1, 6 KOs) will be battling for the vacant IBF World light heavyweight title on November 11 at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California.

Beterbiev and Koelling will be fighting for the IBF title that Andre “SOG” Ward recently vacated upon his retirement from boxing. Had Ward not given up his IBF belt, he would have been required to face the winner of the Beterbiev-Koelling fight. Their fight was originally scheduled as an IBF title eliminator.

Its too bad Ward vacated his IBF belt. It would have been great to see him defend against Beterbiev. Of course, that fight probably would have been dragged out until the International Boxing Federation ordered Ward to start negotiations. Just because Beterbiev wins the IBF mandatory spot doesn’t mean he would have been given a fight right away. I think Ward would have made Beterbiev wait for a fight. At least with Ward giving up his IBF title, Beterbiev will be able to fight for the belt on November 11.

The location of the Beterbiev vs. Koelling fight is a little strange, as neither fighter lives nor fights in the U.S. Beterbiev come from Russian, and he lives in Montreal. Canada. Koelling is from Germany. Whatever the case, Beterbiev has a lot of boxing fans in the U.S, and you can that many of them will take the trip to Fresno to see him fight. New York would obviously have been a better location for the fight. More of Beterbeiv’s Russian boxing fans would likely be interested in seeing him fight live.

Beterbiev has beaten these fighters in his last 6 fights:

• Isidro Ranoni Prieto

• Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna

• Alexander Johnson

• Gabriel Campillo

• Jeff Page Jr.

• Tavoris Cloud

Beterbiev is the favorite to beat the 2012 Olympian Koelling for their November 11th fight. Beterbiev is a 2-time Olympian. He was interested recently in competing in the 2016 Olympics, but he opted not to compete. Beterbiev had a shoulder problem that kept him out of the ring from June 2015 to June 2016.

Beterbiev hasn’t fought at all in 2017, which is a disappointment. He’s been idle for the last 9 months. By the time Beterbiev fights in November, he’ll have been out of the ring for 11 months. It’s a real shame that Beterbiev is missing so much time with his career. Beterbiev is 32-years-old.

Hopefully, Beterbiev can take advantage of the situation, win the IBF title and hold onto the belt for as long as possible. They say the last thing that abandons a fighter is his punching power. Beterbiev hits very hard and he might be able to fight a little longer than a normal fighter once he gets a little older.

Beterbiev’s power and his good inside game could be the thing that allows him to extend his boxing career. Ward was able to use his inside game to beat Sergey Kovalev after he started aging. Beterbiev might be able to do the same thing with his excellent inside fighting ability.

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