Beterbiev-Browne title bout ordered by WBC


A title fight between Artur Beterbiev, the unified light heavyweight champion, and Marcus Browne has been ordered, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told ESPN on Thursday.

The deadline to reach a deal and avoid a purse bid is Sept. 17, Sulaiman said. Top Rank promotes Beterbiev, while Browne is aligned with PBC. The organizations rarely conduct business with each other, the Oct. 9 Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder trilogy fight being an exception.

Terence Crawford-Shawn Porter, another potential bout pitting Top Rank vs. PBC, is heading toward a purse bid that will be ordered Friday, sources said.

Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs) is ESPN’s No. 1 boxer at 175 pounds. The 36-year-old has scored knockouts in all of his pro fights, most notably a 10th-round stoppage of Oleksandr Gvozdyk in October 2019 to unify titles.

Fighting out of Montreal, Beterbiev is often recognized as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world. However, inactivity has stunted his momentum. His first bout since the Gvozdyk victory was a March stoppage of Adam Deines.

The fight against Browne pits top-10 light heavyweights but also fellow Olympians. Beterbiev represented Russia at the 2008 Games and failed to medal. Browne, a native of Staten Island, New York, competed in the 2012 Games.

Browne (24-1, 16 KOs) has never challenged for a title. In 2018, the 30-year-old agreed to fight another light heavyweight champion from Russia, Sergey Kovalev, but the bout fell apart before contracts were signed.

“This is the moment I’ve been working for my entire career; this is the most important fight of my life,” Browne told ESPN. “I’m coming with all the tools in the tool box; not leaving without those straps.”

His career-best victory came in January 2019, a decision win over former champion Badou Jack. Browne never built on the win, though. He was upset in his next fight, a technical-decision loss to Jean Pascal. Browne suffered three knockdowns against the ex-champion. Pascal tested positive for four different banned substances ahead of a scheduled rematch with Jack this year.

“Most of the other guys go in the ring scared to fight [Beterbiev],” said Browne, ESPN’s No. 10 light heavyweight. “They’ve lost before the bell rings. That’s not how we’re coming.”

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