Artur Beterbiev will be defending his IBF/WBC light heavyweight titles next month against #5 IBF Adam Deines on January 30th on ESPN+ in Russia.
Mike Coppinger reports the Beterbiev vs. Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs) fight will be taking place at the end of January.
If the unbeaten Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) beats Deines, his next potential move will be to take on Joe Smith Jr (26-3, 21 KOs) with three titles on the line. That fight will happen as long as Smith beats Maxim Vlasov on February 13th.
Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr will create a lot of interest from boxing fans worldwide, especially in Canada and the United States.
The Long Island, New York native Joe Smith Jr, 31, has turned his career around recently with consecutive victories over Eleider Alvarez and Jesse Hart.
Smith had been beaten by Dimitry Bivol and Sullivan Barrera, and a lot of fans gave up on him after those two defeats. However, Smith has come back strong recently with his 9th round stoppage win over Eleider Alvarez last August.
In 2016, Smith Jr came out of nowhere to knock out slugger Andrzej Fonfara in the first round. That victory surprised many boxing fans because no one had ever beaten Fonfara in such a fashion.
In Smith’s next fight, he knocked out boxing great Bernard Hopkins in the 8th round in December 2016. The loss sent Hopkins into retirement.
Those two are fighting for the vacant WBO 175-lb strap that Canelo Alvarez vacated last year. Alvarez chose not to face Beterbiev after he dethroned WBO champion Sergey Kovalev last year in November.
You can’t blame Canelo for not wanting to take on Beterbiev because, unlike Kovalev, he’s still in the prime of his career and very dangerous.
Beterbiev hasn’t fought since stopping WBC light-heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk in the 10th round fourteen months ago in October 2019. Artur was supposed to defend against his IBF mandatory Meng Fanlong, but the match failed to happen.
By the time Beterbiev gets back in the ring, he’ll have been out of action for 16 months, which is a long time for him. He’s already missed a lot of action due to promotional issues years ago.
2019 was the first time in three years that Beterbiev fought twice in a year. He’s missed so much time, but he keeps looking good, though.
Beterbiev’s opponent for January 30th, Adam Deines, has fought European level opposition, and no one noteworthy. When the German fighter Deines took a step up in class against Fanlong Meng in June of last year, he was beaten by a wide 12 round unanimous decision.