By Luke Furman
Last week, IBF, WBA, WBO light heavyweight world champion Andre Ward shocked everyone by announcing his retirement from the sport.
With Ward hanging up the gloves, there will soon be three world titles at stake.
On November 11 in Fresno, California - there is an IBF final eliminator between Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) and Enrico Koelling (23-1, 6 KOs). ESPN will televise the contest as part of their TV deal with Top Rank.
Because the belt is going to become vacant, Beterbiev and Koelling is likely going to get sanctioned for the full IBF world title.
"There are a lot of things going on in the four sanctioning bodies," said Marc Ramsay, the heard trainer of Beterbiev, to La Presser. "It is good for the division that Ward's titles will become vacant."
"It's at the discretion of the IBF, but this fight [between Beterbiev and Koelling] could well become a championship fight for the vacant title. [This exact situation] has happened in the past. We have already contacted the IBF and the promoter of the fight, Top Rank, to see if there is a way to turn this fight into a world championship contest."
Beterbiev is currently going through a legal battle with Yvon Michel of Canada. The fight with Koelling was secured by Top Rank, because they won the IBF's purse bid. If Beterbiev is able to break away from Michel, he is likely going to sign with Top Rank. Michel claims to have a lot of time left on his promotional agreement with Beterbiev.
Koelling has won his last seven fights, since losing a decision to Mirco Ricci in February 2015.
Beterbiev will be returning to the ring after a nearly one year layoff. He was in the ring back in December, when he broke down and stopped Isidro Ranoni Prieto.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org.