Artur Beterbiev vs. Sven Fornling possible for May 4 on ESPN in Stockton, CA
By Jeff Aranow: A fight between IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (13-0, 13 KOs) and #4 IBF Sven Fornling (15-1, 7 KOs) is being talked about for May 4 on ESPN in Stockton, California, according to Mike Coppinger. Beterbiev-Fornling still hasn’t been made official by Top Rank Boxing, but it’s possibility.
Beterbiev vs. Fornling will be taking place on the same night as the unification fight between WBA/WBC middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez and IBF champ Daniel Jacobs on DAZN. That can’t be good for either of these two fights, especially Canelo-Jacobs, since that fight is on the subscription platform DAZN. It would be wise for the management for Beterbiev and Fornling find a different date for their fight than May 4. Competing against the Canelo-Jacobs fight might result in fewer viewers. It won’t be good for the Canelo vs. Jacobs fight either to have Beterbiev fighting on the same night on a different network them their DAZN fight, but those guys have the far bigger fight. Fornling is an virtual unknown with casual boxing fans in the U.S.
Beterbiev, 34, recently called out World Boxing Organization light heavyweight champion Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev after his 12 round unanimous decision win over Eleider Alvarez on February 2 in Frisco, Texas. Kovalev
Fornling, 30, of Sweden, is coming off of a 12 round unanimous decision win over Karo Murat on December 15 in Hamburg, Germany. Three years ago, Fornling was knocked out in the fifth round by Yevgenii Makhteienko (10-12, 8 KOs) in 2016. Fornling has won his last five fights since then in beating mostly lesser opposition with the exception of his 12 round decision win over 35-year-old Murat (32-4-1, 21 KOs)
“I am ready to enter the ring against any light heavyweight fighter, including Artur Beterbiev,” Kovalev said on his Instagram. “If my team deems it necessary, the fight in May will be against him. If our plan does not include the May fight against Arthur, then it will be later. But this fight will definitely be, I assure you,” Kovalev said.
It doesn’t appear that this is the right time for Beterbiev and Kovalev to face each other. Perhaps the fight can take place later at some point. Both guys getting up there in age, so it woud be great for the boxing public to see them face each other before they both lose their titles to other fighters. Beterbiev is 34, and has been fighting only once a year for the last two years in beating Callum Johnson and Enrico Koelling. Beterbiev looked good in both fights, but they’re the huge match-up that he needs to propel his career to the next level. That’s where Kovalev comes in. A big knockout win over Kovalev could help Beterbiev get noticed by the boxing public, and possibly lead to other unification fights against WBA champion Dmitry Bivol and WBC champion Oleksander Gvozdyk.
Former light heavyweight world title challenger Sullivan Barrera was briefly an option for Beterbiev’s next fight, but the negotiations failed to produce a fight.