By Vadim Pushkin
Light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) can't wait to fight in Miami, Florida.
Beterbiev was in action in December and made things very brief when he demolished Isidro Ranoni Prieto in a single round. Prieto had never been stopped in his career and went the full distance with current WBC mandatory challenger Eleider Alvarez.
The IBF had ordered a final eliminator between Beterbiev and Cuban contender Sullivan Barrera (18-1, 13 KOs). Earlier this month, Beterbiev's promoter Yvon Michel won the purse bid. Many assumed that in winning the purse bid, Michel would take the fight to Beterbiev's backyard of Canada. The complete opposite is taking place, as Beterviev is facing Barrera in his own backyard.
Barrera (18-1, 13 KOs) closed out 2016 in a big way. He started off the year with a twelve round decision loss to current WBA, IBF, WBO world champion Andre Ward. He was then matched up against undefeated puncher Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
While the contest appeared to be an even match on paper, Barrera dominated most of the fight and dropped Shabranskyy three times before stopping him in the seventh.
"The bout [with Barrera] has been scheduled for April 21, 2017 in Miami. I know that my opponent lives and trains in Miami, such that the arena will be crammed full of his fellow compatriots for the most important fight in my professional career to date. However, this does not bother me at all because I firmly believe that a real sportsman who wishes to reach the top must be ready to fight in any environment and in any conditions," Beterbiev stated.
"I am taking this opportunity to thank Sullivan again for having the last word at the critical stage in arranging our bout. I consider the fight against him as another step to achieve the main goal in my professional career. I look forward to this fight."