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.