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IBF orders Artur Beterbiev to defend against Juergen Braehmer

Artur Beterbiev Jurgen Brahmer

By Jim Dower: It didn’t take long for the IBF to replace Marcus Browne (21-0, 16 KOs) with former WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer as IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev’s next potential opponent.

A purse bid has been scheduled next Monday on March 26 at the IBF headquarters, according to Dan Rafael. Browne, 27, was previously selected by the International Boxing Federation as Beterbiev’s next opponent, but he chose to negotiate a deal with WBO champion Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev for a fight this summer in June or July.

Braehmer has until this Thursday, March 22 to let the IBF if he’ll take the fight with Beterbiev for not. Braehmer looked good in his last fight in defeating middleweight Rob Brant by a 12 round unanimous decision on October 27 last year in the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Braehmer moved down from light heavyweight to take the fight with Braehmer at 168.

Braehmer is ranked #4 with the IBF. If he chooses not to take the fight with Beterbiev, then the next highest ranked contender #5 IBF Dominic Boesel (27-1, 10 KOs) will get the chance to take the fight if he’s interested. Braehmer recently dropped out of his February 24th semifinals World Boxing Super Series tournament match against Callum Smith (24-0, 17 KOs), saying that he had the flu. Some boxing fans think Braehmer got cold feet at the idea of fighting the 27-year-old Smith. Braehmer was replaced in the tournament by Nieky Holzken (13-1, 10 KOs), who gave Smith a hard time in losing a 12 round unanimous decision. As average as Smith looked in that fight, Braehmer would have had a decent chance of beating him.

The southpaw Braehmer has the experience, mobility and the boxing skills to give Beterbiev a lot of problems potentially. If Braehmer can stay on the outside, he’ll have a decent shot of beating Beterbiev by a decision. He’s not going to knock him out, but he can beat Beterbiev by a decision if he fights the perfect fight. Brahmer might opt to go in another direction if he doesn’t fancy his chances of beating Beterbiev.

Braehmer’s problem is that there aren’t any weak champions right now at 175 for him to take advantage of. Back when Beterbiev won the WBA and WBO light heavyweight titles, he given the WBO title outside of the ring without having to beat anyone for it, and he defeated a flawed fighter in Marcus Oliveira to win the WBA belt. Braehmer can’t win titles like that anymore at 175. If Braehmer wants to capture a title at light heavyweight, he needs to beat one of these champions: Sergey Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson, Artur Beterbiev or Dmitry Bivol.

There are some very good light heavyweight contenders like Eleider Alvarez and Oleksandr Gvozdyk that would be great options for Beterbiev to fight if Braehmer chooses not to take the fight with him. However, Alvarez and Gvozdyk are waiting for a title shot against WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. They’re not likely to take a fight against Beterbiev. They want Stevenson. Alvarez has passed up the option of fighting Stevenson in the past.

Braehmer has wins over Rob Brant, Robin Krasniqi, Enzo Maccarinelli, Konni Konrad, Eduard Gutknecht, Marcus Oliveira, Vikapita Meroro, Dmitry Sukhotsky, Aleksy Kuziemski, and Mario Veit.

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