Promoter Bob Arum has revealed IBF and WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev 15-0 (15) will seek to unify the division after getting a mandatory title defence out of the way.
The 34-year-old Russian was given an exemption from facing IBF number one contender and 2012 Olympian Meng Fanlong 16-0 (10) in order to pursue a unification bout against Oleksandr Gvozdyk 17-1 (14).
Beterbiev stopped Gvozdyk by 10th round stoppage at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia last Friday.
Top Rank boss Arum has his eye on the winner of the WBO light heavyweight title clash between champion Sergey Kovalev and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez next month as well as WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.
“We are looking at the winner of the fight Kovalev-Alvarez, but Alvarez is unlikely to fight with Beterbiev,” said Arum to Tass.ru.
“We also know about the desire to fight Bivol. He will have priority and after [Beterbiev defends the IBF title against mandatory Meng Fanlong]. We can organize such a fight in 2020.”
“If Canelo wins, I don’t think it’s fair to Canelo to fight a guy [Beterbiev] that big. Gvozdyk fought very, very well, and we have a lot of light heavyweight fights that we are doing.”
Meanwhile, undefeated former undisputed light heavyweight champion Andre Ward said Alvarez should avoid Beterbiev at all costs if he is successful against Kovalev in Las Vegas on November 2.
“No,” said Ward when asked by Fighthype if Alvarez should pursue a fight against Beterbiev.
“Listen, the move from Golden Boy and Canelo to fight Kovalev right now. You’d didn’t hear them talking about wanting to fight Kovalev when he was undefeated. You didn’t hear them talking about fighting Kovalev when he had one loss, when he had two losses.
“It didn’t happen until he had three losses, and he looked the way he looked against [Anthony] Yarde. So it’s calculated. So he’s still taking a risk, Canelo, but it’s calculated. [Fighting Beterbiev] that’s not a calculated risk.
“That’s just stupid. Canelo would never do that, [face] Beterbiev, and Oscar [De La Hoya] would never do that.”