By Alexey Sukachev
There were very high expectations surrounding the recent move of former amateur standout Artur Beterbiev to the pros. They are still in place after four fights, which featured Beterbiev against some quality and durable journeymen, including Christian Cruz and Rayco Saunders. However, on May 24 Beterbiev (4-0, 4 KOs), a former two-time Olympian (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) for Russia, will have a different task to deal with. Beterbiev, 29, faces ex-IBF super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy (26-4, 18 KOs) over ten rounds in a quantum leap up in class for the Hasavyurt native.
Beterbiev is being promoted by GYM – Group Yvon Michel, which is presently the most powerful promotional force in the Canadian boxing scene. Hence, the bout will land into the undercard of Adonis Stevenson vs. Andrzej Fonfara at Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. The Russian is 2006 and 2010 European light heavyweight champion, 2009 world champion and 2008 World Cup owner. He has stoppage wins over Ismayl Sillakh, Yunier Dorticos, Thabiso Mchunu and Kenneth Eagan as an amateur.
Lacy, who will be 37 at the time of the fight and a former Olympian (Sydney 2000) himself, came out of a three-year temporary retirement last November and stopped Martin Verdin in three rounds. The American was the IBF 168lb champion in 2004-2006, making four defenses of his title (and getting the IBO belt along the road) before losing heavily to Joe Calzaghe in Wales in what was a breakout fight for the Welshman. Lacy has never been the same again.