Artur Beterbiev will return to his adopted hometown following a five-year absence for his next fight. has learned that Beterbiev’s mandated light heavyweight title defense against American Marcus Browne will headline Top Rank’s December 17 card from Bell Centre in Montreal. Staten Island’s Browne is the mandatory challenger for Beterbiev’s WBC 175-pound championship.

ESPN+ will stream Beterbiev-Browne and numerous undercard fights from the home arena of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens.

Eight of the Russian-born Beterbiev’s first 11 professional fights took place either in Montreal or Quebec City. The 2012 Olympian relocated to Montreal from Russia after signing with Group Yvon Michel, a prominent promoter in the province of Quebec.

After agreeing to a co-promotional agreement with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. early in 2019, Beterbiev has fought in Stockton, California, Philadelphia and Moscow. His previous two fights took place in Fresno, California, and Chicago.

Top Rank won a WBC purse bid September 28 to earn the right to promote the Beterbiev-Browne bout. The winning bid from Arum’s company was $1,105,000.

The only other offer was made by TGB Promotions, which bid $1,001,000 on behalf of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.

Ten percent of Top Rank’s winning bid, $110,500, will be withheld by the WBC in an escrow account and awarded to the winner of their 12-round title fight. According to the WBC’s rules, Beterbiev, as the defending champion, is entitled to 70 percent of the balance of the winning bid ($696,150).

Browne is guaranteed 30 percent of what’s left of Top Rank’s winning bid ($298,350).

The 36-year-old Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs), who also owns the IBF belt, stopped Germany’s Adam Deines in the 10th round of his most recent bout, an IBF-mandated match March 20 at Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow. Defeating Deines (20-2-1, 11 KOs) satisfied Beterbiev’s mandatory obligation with the IBF because visa issues prohibited the IBF’s original mandatory challenger for Beterbiev’s title, China’s Meng Fanlong (16-0, 10 KOs), from traveling internationally to battle Beterbiev.

The 30-year-old Browne (24-1, 16 KOs) has mostly been inactive since former WBC light heavyweight champ Jean Pascal upset him by technical decision in August 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The 2012 U.S. Olympian out-pointed journeyman Denis Grachev (20-14-1, 11 KOs) unanimously in a non-televised 10-rounder April 21 at Shrine Auditorium & Exposition Center in Los Angeles. Russia’s Grachev is 1-7 in his past eight fights.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.