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  Cloutier’s Canada Corner
Beterbiev Could Become IBF Mandatory Challenger... Or IBF Champion Of The World

By Daniel Cloutier

MONTRÉAL - The IBF championship committee could rule this month that the Montrealer Russian Artur Beterbiev is becoming the new mandatory challenger for the IBF light heavyweight champion of the world, the Californian Andre Ward (31-0-0).

The IBF has decided to take out the Cuban Sullivan Barrera (18-1-0) from the Top 10 ratings, because he refused to face Beterbiev (11-0-0) April 21st in Miami, in an IBF elimination bout.

“Barrera never signed the contract to face Artur for this IBF elimination bout, than, the IBF is taking him out of the Top 10 ratings,” said the promoter of the GYM Group, Yvon Michel, the Beterbiev’s promoter. “If a rematch is organized between Ward and Sergey Kovalev, the winner will receive the order to face Artur by the IBF championship committee. If the IBF light heavyweight title becomes vacant (if Ward takes his retirement instead allow a rematch to Kovalev), Artur should be named new IBF 175 pounds champion of the world. We will follow this file attentively in the weeks to come.”

Last November in Las Vegas, Ward dethroned Kovalev (31-1-1) as WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion of the world, with a controversy win by unanimous decision. Most of the boxing writers who covered this fight picked Kovalev as the winner by two or three points. The three judges caused a big surprise in proclaiming Ward winner by 114-113.

In the contract of the two fighters, a rematch’s clause was specified. Last month, Ward said to Oakland boxing writers that he as to decide if he is allowing a rematch to Kovalev or end his boxing career.

Beterbiev is the only light heavyweight in the world to be ranked so high with only 11 pro bouts of experience. In 2009, Beterbiev became amateur world champion, and few weeks after, Bernard Barré, the scout of the GYM Group, persuaded him to turn pro and join the Montréal organization.


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