Artur Beterbiev’s next fight is already taking preliminary shape.
The WBC, WBO, IBF Russian light heavyweight bruiser is coming off a thrilling eighth-round stoppage over game Anthony Yarde, the WBO mandatory challenger, last Saturday night at OVO Arena Wembley in London.
According to Carl Moretti, the vice president of Top Rank, which promotes Beterbiev, the next fight for the Russian knockout artist may come against yet another mandatory, the WBC’s top contender in England’s Callum Smith.
Moretti said they would look to stage this fight in Beterbiev’s adopted hometown of Montreal, Canada, sometime in the late summer. The 38-year-old Beterbiev, a devout Muslim, observes the Ramadan holiday that will last a month starting from late March, so he would not be available to fight in the spring.
“With Artur Beterbeiv’s win over Anthony Yarde, we now have a number of possibilities for his next fight,” Moretti told Le Journal de Montreal. “We would probably be obliged to offer a fight to Callum Smith, the mandatory for the WBC. We would like to stage this fight in Montreal at the end of the summer.”
The 32-year-old Smith (29-1, 21 KOs), a former titlist at 168, is promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom, a business rival of Top Rank. Hearn has repeatedly insisted that Smith will be in line to face the winner of Beterbiev-Yarde.
If a deal cannot be consummated between the two parties, the fight would go on to a purse bid, meaning the company that turns in the higher dollar amount will retain rights to stage the fight on their preferred network; Top Rank deals with ESPN, Matchroom with DAZN.
Moretti said it is still up in the air which company Top Rank would link up with if they decide to stage Beterbiev’s next fight in Montreal. Top Rank has working relationships with both Eye of the Tiger Management and GYM, two of the most visible promotional companies in Canada.
Top Rank collaborated with GYM, the company led by Yvon Michel, on Beterbiev’s hometown title defense against Marcus Browne in December 2021.
“On the other hand, Marc Ramsay (Beterbiev’s trainer) is close with [Eye of the Tiger Management founder] Camille Estephan and we have deals with EOTTM for Arslanbek Makhumodv and Simon Kean,” Moretti pointed out, referring to two highly regarded heavyweights.
Beterbiev retained his undefeated record after his win over Yarde on Saturday, improving to 19 wins, with 19 knockouts.