Home Boxing News Artur Beterbiev could return to England to face the winner of Joshua...

Artur Beterbiev could return to England to face the winner of Joshua Buatsi vs Dan Azeez

Artur Beterbiev. Photo credit: Reuters

WBC, WBO and IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev 19-0 (19) could return to the UK next year to defend his three world titles.

The undefeated 38-year-old Russian who boxes out of Montreal, Canada must first get past WBC mandatory contender Callum Smith 29-1 (21) at Centre Videotron in Quebec City on January 13.

If successful he could return to the UK where he defeated Anthony Yarde 24-3 (23) by eighth-round knockout in a thrilling back-and-forth contest in his last bout in London in January.

“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,” said Beterbiev’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank to Sky Sports.

Another trip across the ditch could see him face the winner of this weekend’s bout between Joshua Buatsi 17-0 (13) and Dan Azeez 20-0 (13) at London’s O2 Arena this Saturday night.

The 34-year-old Azeez is very familiar with Beterbiev and his bone-crunching power after sparring with him in the past.

“The overhands and the bodywork, those little things, there are small little things that Beterbiev does,” Azeez said to Sky Sports earlier this year.

“I don’t think a lot of people give him credit for his actual boxing IQ because obviously he’s knocked out everyone.

“He’s got a very intelligent mind in there.”

Azeez went on to praise Beterbiev’s underrated defence.

“In sparring as well you’d throw a shot at him and you’d miss by an inch, he’s got very good footwork,” he said.

“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 and makes you expend more energy than you want to because you know if I’m in too close, I could get tagged. If I make a mistake, I could get tagged. So you’re thinking a lot more than you want to, so it’s hard.

“As you see when you watch him, when he throws his shots, it doesn’t look like he puts too much into it. It’s deceiving but there’s power behind it.”

Azeez has a solid challenge in front of him in the form of Buatsi, but he has sparred many round with the 30-year-old who he considers a friend.

Azeez has a solid challenge in front of him in the form of Buatsi, but he has sparred many round with the 30-year-old who he considers a friend. He believes his experience winning fights as an underdog will serve him well in this contest.

“I don’t care about getting an L on my record otherwise I wouldn’t have taken the fight,” Azeez said. “It could go either way, so it’s about putting everything together and doing everything necessary to get the victory.

“It’s not my first 50/50 I’ve been in – there have been many fights where on paper they’ve been 50/50 and it’s not the first time that I’ve been in there with someone that’s probably technically better than me – I’ve always found a way to win.

“I don’t think he’s been in that situation where he’s ever been the underdog – every fight he’s been a favourite, so I’m used to being in this situation and still coming out on top.”