Hooks and jabs: Beterbiev injured, title defence postponed

WBC and IBF light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev will have to wait longer for his return to the ring after suffering a rib injury in training.

Beterbiev’s title defence against Adam Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs) in Moscow on October 23 has now been postponed, but is expected to be rescheduled later in 2020.

The hard-hitting Russian was originally injured in sparring on Thursday and had issues during weight training the following day. An MRI on Friday revealed a fracture.

Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) hasn’t fought since halting Ukrainian Oleksandr Gvozdyk in the 10th round of a unification bout in October 2019.


Nigerian menace Efe Ajagba will make his Top Rank debut against Los Angeles’ Jonathan Rice in Las Vegas on September 19.

Big things are expected of the emerging heavyweight contender who left Al Haymon’s PBC stable in the summer. Rice  (13-5-1, 9 KOs) has mixed with some good names like Tony Yoka and Arslanbek Makhmudov but naturally fallen short in that class. The Californian was stopped by Aussie hope Demsey McKean in 10 in March.

Ajagba (13-0, 11 KOs) was last seen halting former WBO title challenger Razvan Cojanu in nine, also in March. His dream is to fight unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, also of Nigerian heritage, in the West African nation. 


Electric 140-pounder Omar Aguilar (19-0, 18 KOs) scored another quick-fire win with a third round demolition of José Guillermo ‘Gato’ García (12-8-1, 5 KOs) at the TV Azteca Studios in Mexico City on Saturday night.

‘Pollo’ hammered Garcia from the opening bell, scoring a second-round knockdown before the referee intervened in the third. A world ranking seems imminent.

The big-punching Aguilar was recently spotlighted by IBHOF inductee Graham Houston as a fighter to watch.