Light heavyweight contender Marcus Browne has been relatively quiet for the past two years, but his longtime trainer, Gary Stark Sr., is hoping his charge can change that trend by ending the year with a statement performance – against, no less, the feared, two-belt Russian champion of the division, Artur Beterbiev 

“Our advisers are talking about Beterbiev right now, and we’re ranked number one for him, anyway,” Stark told “We want that fight next, so we’re just waiting for what [manager] Al [Haymon] comes up with.” 

Browne (24-1, 16 KOs) is coming off a 12-round victory over Denis Grachev on April 20 at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles, his first fight since his upset loss to Jean Pascal in 2019; Browne lost on a technical decision after getting dropped several times. (Pascal recently tested positive for a cocktail of PEDs ahead of his previously  scheduled rematch against Badou Jack.) 

Stark says Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs), who owns the IBF and WBC titles, has been at the top of their target list for a while now and is not bothered about the Russian’s outsize reputation as a dangerous mauler. Beterbiev has yet to go the distance in a professional fight. 

“Yeah, yeah, he is a monster.” Stark admitted. “But it’s for the world title, so we will have to train super hard and get the best version of Marcus to come out.”

Beterbiev last fought in March, stopping Adam Deines in the 10th round. 

But given that both fighters belong to competing entities – Browne is aligned with Al Haymon and Premier Boxing Champions and Beterbiev is promoted by Top Rank and ESPN – it is not clear if there is a path for both fighters to face each other. 

Stark, however, hopes that the WBC (which ranks Browne currently as the #2 light heavyweight behind Pascal, whose status may be in jeopardy after his PED fiasco) will put pressure on the promoters to reach a deal. 

“I hope they realize that we’re number one for that belt and that they go by the sanctioning body rules,” said Stark. “I don’t think Beterbiev has faced a number one ranked fighter in a couple of years so he needs to step up and fight the number one, so that would be Marcus.” 

“I’m just hoping we get that Beterbiev fight,” added Stark. “We need that right now. Marcus is ready right now, let's go.”