By Vadim Pushkin
Last month, it was announced that light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) would travel over to Miami, Florida to face Sullivan Barrera (18-1, 13 KOs) in an IBF final eliminator. The fight was announced for April 21.
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.
Barrera (18-1, 13 KOs) bounced back from a March twelve round decision loss to current WBA, IBF, WBO world champion Andre Ward, by battering and stopping undefeated puncher Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in seven rounds last December.
Beterbiev's promoter Yvon Michel won the purse bid. Because there are visa issues with bringing Barrera over to Canada, a decision was made to travel to the Cuban boxer's backyard.
There have been issues, which may or may not have been resolved. Barrera claimed that he never received the contract for the fight and there were rumors that he was unhappy with the money being offered for the fight.
As far as Beterbiev, Michel and even Barrera's promoter is concerned, the fight is a go.
Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, who promotes Barrera, is confident in her boxer pulling off the upset win. She feels he's faced the much tougher level of opponents.
"I think Barrera has a good chance to be the winner. He's had tough opponents than Beterbiev. In particular, he achieved a great win over Shabranskyy. Moreover, Barrera is not an ordinary fighter and very unpredictable that I think he will be a problem for Beterbiev," said Duva to Vasily Konov.
The winner of the fight will become the mandatory challenger to Ward, who is slated to have a rematch with former world champion Sergey Kovalev in the coming months.