WBC/IBF/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev, who has been out of action for way longer than both he and his many fans would have had it, this due to injury, will make his return on January 13, this against Callum Smith. It will have been a full year out for the 38 year old with the 100 percent KO record, 19-0(19) and we all hope the Russian tank has a far more active 2024.
Smith, 29-1(21) has been waiting for his shot at Beterbiev and some fight folks feel this could be a tough one for Beterbiev, who may or may not be showing the troublesome effects of ring rust come January. But assuming Beterbiev does do away with Smith (who has never been stopped), it could be another trip to the UK for another fight with a British opponent afterwards.
Bob Arum, speaking with Sky Sports, said Beterbiev “made a big splash” when he fought Anthony Yarde in the UK in what was his most recent fight, and that Beterbiev could come back to face the winner of this Saturday night’s clash between Joshua Buatsi and Dan Azeez, this a great match up in its own right, between two unbeaten fighters.
For sure, we UK fight fans would readily welcome Beterbiev back!
“Since Artur made such a big splash in the UK against Yarde, we would not be opposed to him returning one day in the future,” Arum said.
And Azeez, 20-0(13) has sparred with Beterbiev, and the Londoner has nothing but respect for the champ.
“He’s got a very intelligent mind in there,” Azeez said of Beterbiev. “In sparring, you’d throw a shot at him and miss by an inch, he’s got very good footwork. He might come across like he’s flat-footed but he’s actually got good footwork and he knows how to move around the ring. It’s that punching power, it keeps you jittery ane makes you expend more energy than you want to because you know if I’m in too close, I could get tagged.”
Indeed, each and every fighter Beterbiev has faced in the ring has been “tagged” at some point in the fight. Whether it’s late or early, Beterbiev gets his man out of there. Now, who wins on Saturday, Azeez, or fellow Londoner (by way of Ghana) Buatsi, 17-0(13)? And does Beterbiev do away with Smith in his eagerly awaited ring return?
And then, some time next year, might Beterbiev come back to rumble on UK shores?