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Artur Beterbiev vs. Adam Deines on October 9 in Moscow, Russia

Artur Beterbiev

By Kenneth Friedman: Artur Beterbiev will now be defending his IBF/WBC light heavyweight titles against #6 IBF Adam Deines on October 9 instead of Fanlong Meng in Moscow, Russia. IBF mandatory Meng (16-0, 10 KOs) potentially wouldn’t have been able to make the trip from China to Russia to face the unbeaten Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs).

The 175-lb division has many talented fighters, but for some reason, the International Boxing Federation isn’t ranking them highly. Instead of fighters like Joe Smith Jr, Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez or Jean Pascal being listed in the top spots in the IBF’s rankings, you get Meng Fanlong and Deines.

There’s not much lost with the 32-year-old Meng being replaced by Germany’s Deines. Boxing fans weren’t excited at the thought of Beterbiev defending against the little known light-hitting Meng, whose best career win oddly enough was against Deines last year.

Deines taking a step up in class

Meng defeated the 29-year-old Deines by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 116-110, 117-109, and 115-111. The fight took place in Macao, China, in June 2019.

The five-year pro, Deines was born in Semyonovka, Russia in 1991, and he’s now living and fighting in Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany.

His opposition has mostly poor, and he hasn’t shown much ability as yet. It was troubling that when Deines’ handlers attempted to move him up a notch against Meng Fanlong last year, he was beaten soundly by him.

Artur Beterbiev

It wouldn’t be so bad for Deines if he wasn’t schooled by Meng. That loss makes Deines look completely ill-suited to be challenging for a world title against a talented champion like Beterbiev or any of the other belt-holders fr that matter.

Deines’s best wins:

  • Janne Forsman
  • Stefan Haertel
  • Elio German Rafael
  • Lukasz Golebiewski

The highly popular 2012 Russian Olympian Beterbiev is coming off quickly the biggest win of his seven-year professional career in stopping WBC 175-lb champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk in the 10th round on October 18 last year.

Beterbiev was the underdog coming into that fight with the oddsmakers, but he showed everyone how wrong they were by wearing Gvozdyk down with body punching and hard inside fighting to score a stoppage. In round ten, Beterbiev dropped a weary Gvozdyk three times before the contest was halted.

Beterbiev vs. Deines likely to end early

In the aftermath of the fight, Gvozdyk chose to retire from boxing, which is disappointing news for Beterbiev, as he was hoping to face him in a rematch.

With Gvozdyk now retired, the fight that Beterbiev wants is against WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs). That’s a match that will likely need to wait until 2021 until fans are allowed back into events.

Former unified 175-lb champion Sergey Kovalev would have been an excellent option for Beterbiev, but he lost his WBO title to Canelo Alvarez last November in a 10th round knockout loss.

Artur Beterbiev

For the 36-year-old Kovalev to a future opportunity for Beterbiev, he’s going to need to rebuild his career and show that he’s not a faded, worn-out fighter like many boxing fans now view him as.

Unless Beterbiev carries Deines, this fight could end early on with a fast knockout. It’s possible that Deines could give Beterbiev problems due to his southpaw stance, but not likely. Beterbiev has seen a lot of southpaw fighters during his years as an amateur in Russia, and he’s not going be confused by that kind of opponent.

Right now, Beterbiev is fighting like a machine, and it’s going to require an excellent performance from Deines for him to pull off an upset. It might be a moral victory for Deines if he lasts the full 12 rounds without being knocked out by Beterbiev, as no one has gone the distance with him thus far in the pro ranks.

The last time that Beterbiev tasted defeat was in the 2012 London Olympics in losing to Oleksandr Usyk by a 17-13 score That defeat was controversial, as Beterbiev landed the more difficult and better shots in each round. Still, the judges were more impressed with Usyk’s slightly higher work rate.

Artur needs to face the best

If Beterbiev-Usyk fight had been a professional fight, Beterbiev likely would have won by a lopsided score, as he was landing the better shots throughout, and he had Usyk badly buzzed at one point in the fight.

Beterbiev’s fighting style is more suited to the professional ranks rather than the amateurs, which is a sport that is more like fencing than actual boxing.

The 35-year-old Beterbiev cannot affor to waste too much time defending his titles against obscure contenders with no small fan bases and little talent. For Beterbiev to get the most out of his remaining years as a top fighter, he needs to face the likes of Bivol, Pascal, Ramirez, Joshua Buatsi and ideally some of tthe super middleweights.

Artur Beterbiev

It was disappointing recently when Canelo Alvarez chose to vacate his WBO 175-lb title soon after defeating Kovalev to win the belt last November. Boxing fans would have loved to see Canelo take on Beterbiev rather than quietly vacating the WBO belt and moving backd won to 168.

It wouldn’t be nearly as bad a look on Canelo’s part if he moved back down to super middleweight and targeted a talented fighter like Callum Smith. But Canelo is interested in facing Avni Yildirum for the vacant WBC 168-lb title.

If Canelo takes that fight, it’s going to make him look like he ducked Beterbiev at 175. The only way Canelo won’t look like he ducked Beterbiev is if he faces the bet at super middleweight, and it doesn’t appear that he plans on doing that.

Benavidez would be perfect opponent

Former WBC 168-lb champion David Benavidez was installed at #1 at 175 by the World Boxing Council after he failed to make weight for his title defense of his WBC super middleweight title this month against Roamer Angulo.

Unfortunately, the undefeated Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) has written to the WBC to ask them to add him to their rankings at 168 rather than 175.

It would be great for Beterbiev if Benavidez chose to stay at 175 and challenge him for his WBC title. Benaivez reportedly rehyrated to 195 pounds for his fight against Angulo, which might be one of the reasons why the WBC moved him to their light heavyweight rankings.

Artur Beterbiev

It’s unclear how heavy Beterbiev rehydrates to after he makes weight at 175, but its not likely that he’s ballooning up 20 pounds to 195 after he weighs in.

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