Unified light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev has admitted that he would relish the opportunity to face his old amateur rival and current unified heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk.
Both Beterbiev (18-0) and Usyk (20-0) are undefeated since turning professional and each hold three belts in their respective divisions, although Usyk is onto his second weight-class having already achieved undisputed status at cruiserweight.
Their rivalry dates back as far as fifteen years ago, when they first met in the amateurs, with Beterbiev coming out on top in the 2007 Amber Gloves fight. Although, it was Usyk who went on to win the rivalry, at least for now.
Usyk faced Beterbiev again in the 2011 in the AIBA world championship quarter-finals in Baku and was outboxing his opponent until being caught and hurt in the second round, but he managed to recover.
In the third and final round, Usyk was hurt to the body, a moment that many fans referred to, as they advised Anthony Joshua to target Usyk’s body in their rematch. The Ukrainian was forced to take a knee, but that didn’t stop him getting the decision on the scorecards and going on to win the tournament.
Finally, they met at the 2012 Olympics in London, again in the quarter-finals and once more it was Usyk who dominated and landed the cleaner work, winning 17-13 and, once again, going on to win the tournament and earn the Olympic gold medal.
Like many historic rivalries, these two are the traditional clash of boxer vs puncher, but having only met in the amateurs, Usyk has had the benefit of not feeling the full capacity of his opponent’s power.
Many boxers often recite how the amateurs is a different game to the professional ranks anf the lack of a head guard and additional nine rounds could greatly benefit Beterbiev, who seemed to agree.
In an interview with iD Boxing at the Anthony Yarde press conference, the Russian-Canadian stated his desire for the fight and believes he has what it takes to cause problems for the heavyweight champion.
“I’m very happy if this fight happens in professional because I believe I can give him something in professional. I can give him very good fight, I don’t want to say that I will beat him.”
With amateur records of 335-15 (Usyk) and 295-5 (Beterbiev), the fight would certainly be an intriguing matchup, although, it may be some time before it could happen, with Beterbiev chasing Dmitry Bivol and Usyk wanting Tyson Fury, both for undisputed titles.