Beterbiev Accepts Kovalev Challenge

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Promoter Yvon Michel of GYM has informed BoxingScene.com that light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9KOs) is ready and willing to face WBO/WBA/IBF light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25KOs) on November 28th.

On Saturday night, Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events informed BoxingScene that her fighter will return on the previously mentioned November date in Moscow, Russia.

Kovalev was in action on Saturday night, when he blew away mandatory challenger Nadjib Mohammedi in three rounds at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

In the coming days, Duva plans to present an offer to Michel for a fight between Kovalev and Beterbiev.

A Kovalev-Beterbiev showdown would be a huge event in Russia. The two fighters do not like each other, with Beterbiev – a deadly puncher in his own right – holding claim to two amateur victories over Kovalev.

“We are going to make an offer to Artur Beterbiev. That’s like a monster fight over there. We’re going to make [Michel] an offer. I’ll send him something on Monday probably,” Duva told BoxingScene.com.

Michel reached out to BoxingScene to make it clear that his fighter is ready to face Kovalev next – and there is absolutely no issue with doing the fight on HBO, who hold an exclusive multi-fight agreement with Kovalev.

“We are 100% behind that. Artur Beterbiev is now ranked at number 2 by the IBF. With Mohammedi being knocked out, he was number one and he will be losing his spot next week and we will receive a letter from the IBF for Beterbiev to fight for the mandatory position against whoever will have the guts to get in the ring with him. But if we have the opportunity to fight for the title directly, this is something that we’re more than happy about. But we have to have a fair offer for wherever….Russia…wherever will be the best place that Kathy Duva will choose. If we have to be on HBO, no problem, there is no issue,” Michel told BoxingScene.com.

While Michel is ready to take Beterbiev to HBO for the fight, there are some conditions that are needed. Michel will not agree to give any future options on Beterbiev – to Main Events or to HBO. But a rematch clause in favor of Kovalev will not be an issue.

“Just have an honest offer. No strings attached. No options and first and last from the network. Except, we will agree to a rematch clause, because there is no problem giving him a rematch after Beterbiev knocks him out. If we can do it that way, we will of course abandon the route of trying to get the mandatory position and take the challenge,” Michel said.

Michel also promotes WBC champion Adonis Stevenson. Both Stevenson and Beterbiev are advised by Al Haymon. It’s been extremely difficult to put together a fight between Stevenson and Kovalev – especially with the involvement of HBO as the network of choice.

But Michel explains that Stevenson and Beterbiev are in two completely different situations.

“There is no problem [with HBO]. Artur is in a different position than Stevenson. Stevenson is a champion, he has an association with a network in Showtime and wherever he is he demands a big purse. Artur is challenger and he understands the position of being a challenger. And when a challenger has an opportunity to fight against the champion [he takes it],” Michel said.

“All we want is honest and fair offer, and we will also be honest because we know that Kovalev is the champion and has three belts. We are not going to ask for the moon. It’s a fight we want to have. It’s a fight that Artur Beterbiev has wanted since he did his first pro fight and he’s ready any time to do it. Let’s just sit down, my phone will be on and we agree with [Duva’s position] to do the fight 100%.”