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  Cloutier’s Canada Corner
Beterbiev Will Face Koelling

By Daniel Cloutier

MONTRÉAL - It’s now confirmed: the IBF light heavyweight elimination bout will oppose the Montrealer Artur Beterbiev to the German Enrico Koelling. The IBF championship committee confirmed this morning that Koelling has officially accepted to face Beterbiev.

Last week, the IBF announced the cancellation of this elimination bout opposing Beterbiev to the Cuban Sullivan Barrera, because Barrera refused to sign the contract, alleging he was not paid sufficiently. This week, the IBF sent a letter to the other contenders ranked in the Top 10, mentioning that they needed to give an answer before March 23rd at midnight.

A fighter who represented Germany at the London Olympics in 2013 (he has been eliminated in the second round), Koelling confirmed his decision to accept this elimination bout, a couple of hours before the dead line.

“We are very pleased to know that Koelling said yes,” mentioned the promoter of the GYM Group in Montréal, Yvon Michel. “Koelling is associated to the Wilfrid Sauerland organization, and we always got a great relation with this group. We should be able to confirm soon a site and a date for this IBF elimination bout.”

Koelling is also a WBA Intercontinental champion. The winner of the elimination bout will become the mandatory challenger for the IBF 175 pound champion of the world, the Californian Andre Ward (31-0-0). Last November at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Ward dethroned the Russian Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1) as WBA, IBF and WBO champion of the world, with a controversy win by unanimous decision. Most of the boxing writers who were covering this event, picked Kovalev as winner, by two or three points.

Beterbiev (11-0-0) is ranked second contender by the IBF, Koelling (23-1-0) is ranked fifth. A Russian living in Montréal since 2010, Beterbiev is the only light heavyweight to be ranked in the Top five in the world with only 11 pro bouts of experience.


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