By Vadim Pushkin
Light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev delivered an impressive performance Friday night at the Casino du Lac-Leamy.
Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) blew away Argentine Isidro Ranoni Prieto (26-2-3, 22 KOs) with a knockout victory at 2 minutes, 44 seconds of the first round - and in doing so retains the NABA title.
"I was not aiming for such a fast knockout," Beterbiev said to RDS. "I had prepared for twelve rounds as I always do. After that, my coach asked me to take my time and be on my guard, because Prieto could be dangerous. I'm a bit surprised, I did not expect the fight to end so quickly."
Beterbiev's trainer, Marc Ramsey, was very satisfied with the victory.
"I wanted Artur to be careful in the first two rounds. The ring was very small then at the sound of the bell, the two boxers were going to find themselves very quickly," added Ramsay.
"It is the best defense that wins in this case and I did not want him to be surprised by a punch that is out of the ordinary, especially given the fact that Prieto has a good power punch. I wanted to install the course of defense, the jab and the counter-punching in the first. I then wanted him to wait for the right moment and to work as a professional. I noticed that Prieto was using the overhand of the right and asked Artur to step aside after sending his jab. He could then surprise him with his right and that's what happened."
Igor Mikhalkin (18-1, 9 KOs), who is ranked at number seven, might become the next opponent for Beterbiev in an IBF final eliminator. Beterbiev's promoter is having extreme difficulties trying to secure some of the other ranked contenders like Erik Skoglund, Sean Monaghan, Enrico Kolling and Marcus Browne. That fight could go down on a date in February or March.