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Artur Beterbiev vs. Adam Deines on March 20th in Russia

Artur Beterbiev

By Sean Jones: Artur Beterbiev has recovered from his illness and he’ll be defending his IBF light heavyweight title against Adam Deines on March 20th at a still to be determined venue in Russia.

Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) has had a lot of trouble getting back into the ring since his last fight 15 months ago against Oleksandr Gvozdyk in October 2019.

A combination of injuries, illness, and the pandemic has pushed the 35-year-old Beterbiev’s optional title defense against #5 IBF Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs) into the New Year.

Beterbiev was supposed to fight Deines on October 23, but that date was moved to January 30th after Artur suffered a rib injury. The January 30th was changed due to Beterbiev coming down with COVID 19.

Beterbiev needs to get this title defense over with

We hope this is the last time the Beterbiev-Deines fight is rescheduled, as Beterbiev is investing too much of his career into getting this low-level fight out of the way.

Artur Beterbiev

This is an optional defense for Beterbiev, and it’s not a fight that the boxing public has any interest in seeing.

It’s unclear if this was Beterbiev’s promoter’s idea for him to face the little known Deines or if this was something he wanted.

There much be something involved in the fight that has led Beterbiev to pick Deines and invest so much time into getting the match done. It would be terribly disappointing if Beterbiev still unable to get this fight completed this year.

At some point, it would be better for Top Rank to move on and match Beterbiev against another opponent. Perhaps he’d have better luck making it through training camp if he were facing a high-level 175-pounder like Dimitry Bivol.

If Beterbiev ever does get this mismatch out of the way, it would excellent to see the two-time Russian Olympian face one of the champions at 175 in a unification fight.

Great options for Beterbiev in 2021

While Beterbiev is still in his prime, it would be interesting to see him fight Dimitry Bivol, Jean Pascal, or the winner of the Joe Smith Jr vs. Maxim Vlasov fight.

Beternbiev’s promoter Bob Arum expressed interest this week in matching him against the powerful Joe Smith Jr (26-3, 21 KOs) if he defeats Vlasov to win the vacant WBO light heavyweight title in their fight on February 13th in Las Vegas.

Smith Jr and Vlasov are fighting for the title that Canelo Alvarez vacated in 2020 after picking up the belt with a victory over Sergey Kovalev.

Former WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith is moving up to 175 after his loss to Canelo. A fight between Beterbiev and Callum would be fun for the boxing fans.

Artur Beterbiev

The fight would show whether Callum’s lackluster performance against Canelo was due to his struggles to make 168 or if he simply wasn’t good enough.

Other choices for Beterbiev in 2021:

  • Joshua Buatsi
  • Marcus Browne
  • Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez
  • Badou Jack
  • Lyndon Arthur
  • Bektemir ‘Bully’ Melikuziev

Any one of these fighters would be a monstrous improvement over Deines for Beterbiev to fight, and it’s surprising that Top Rank didn’t choose one of those fighters for him to defend against.

Again, there has to be some compelling reason why Deines was picked because it’s such a bad fight. With Beterbiev’s huge victory over Gvozdyk in 2019, it was important that Top Rank keep the momentum going by matching him against another known fighter that the boxing world would be excited at seeing him fight.

If the idea is to turn Beterbiev into a star as quickly as possible, you’re not going to do that by putting him in with Deines.

The casual boxing fans in the U.S has never heard of that guy, and his resume is poor. Why was Deines chosen rather than Buatsi, Ramirez, Browne, or Jack?

 




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