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IBF: Beterbiev vs. Koelling Officially Approved For Vacant Title

By Luke Furman

Th reshaping of the light heavyweight division has officially begun. Two weeks ago, IBF, WBA, WBO light heavyweight world champion Andre Ward shocked everyone by announcing his retirement from the sport.

With has withdrawal from the sport, there will be three new champions in the sport.

On November 11 in Fresno, California - top contenders Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) and Enrico Koelling (23-1, 6 KOs) will collide. ESPN will televise the contest as part of their TV deal with Top Rank.

artur-beterbiev (10)_3

The fight between Beterbiev and Koelling was originally set as an IBF final eliminator, with the winner receiving an immediate shot at Ward.

But now with Ward's retirement, the IBF has advised BoxingScene.com that Beterbiev vs. Koelling has been officially approved as a world title fight.

"The IBF has received official notification that IBF light heavyweight champion Andre Ward has retired leaving that title vacant.  The Artur Beterbiev vs. Enrico Koelling bout originally scheduled to be an eliminator for the #1 position has been given formal sanction approval and will be for the IBF vacant light heavyweight championship," the IBF confirmed in a statement.

The promotional future of Beterbiev is still not clear. He 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.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Lou Cipher on 09-28-2017

[QUOTE=bluebeam;18097067]how did ward turn his back on his fans? all his fans seem to be happy that he went out as the wba,ibf,wbo light heavyweight champion of the world. no losses[/QUOTE] Because he ducked GGG, ducked Stevenson, ducked Bellew and…

Comment by bluebeam on 09-28-2017

[QUOTE=Lou Cipher;18096003]Nah he was WAY overpaid by Roc Nation and they lost major cash on him to date. There's no way they would have let him do a fight that didn't yield some kind of return potential. Ward turned his…

Comment by kennyrealchan on 09-28-2017

I actually would like to see how ward would work on beterbiev given that beterbiev seems to be a more complete package when compare with kovalev...yet ward body seems to wear down quite alot when I checked out his fight…

Comment by Pigeons on 09-28-2017

Beterbiev and Bivol are getting easy rides to a world title. Let's see what happens with Gvozdyk and the WBO. Kovalev is currently #2 but something tells me Top Rank will maneuver him into a fight with an easier opponent…

Comment by GGG Gloveking on 09-28-2017

A eurobum fighting for a vacant title, imagine that. Next, he'll be dragging up welters

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