Artur Beterbiev has never lost a professional fight, and nobody has even gone the distance against the Russian, who holds the WBC and IBF light heavyweight titles. Marcus Browne will attempt to end that streak on Friday night when he takes on Beterbiev at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Browne (24-1, 16 KOs) has established himself as one of the top light heavyweights in the world, with wins against the likes of Badou Jack and Radivoje Kalajdzic highlighting his resume.
Browne: Other fighters avoiding Beterbiev
Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs) presents a whole new level of challenge. Nobody has been able to stand up to Beterbiev in the ring, and many fighters have seemingly avoided him. Browne says he’s happy to take on the challenge, no matter how daunting it may be.
“Beterbiev is the most avoided champion out there,” Browne told reporters. “He’s a great fighter, doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and is super strong. But I’m the better fighter and I’m here to show that.”
Beterbiev could look at this fight as a warmup for bigger tests down the line. He’ll likely try to unify all the light heavyweight titles in the near future, which would mean bouts against Dmitry Bivol and Joe Smith Jr. down the line. But, the champion says he’s not going to overlook a capable opponent in Browne.
“It’s a good fight and good challenge for me,” Beterbiev told RingTV.com. “He’s a very good boxer, good technically, good counterpuncher, and very fast…Browne deserves all my attention and I will take care of other fighters later.”
Knockout streak on the line
Oddsmakers don’t see an upset coming, though the fight isn’t entirely one-sided. Beterbiev enters as a prohibitive -1100 favorite according to DraftKings Sportsbook, with Browne fetching +650 odds as the underdog. Given Beterbiev’s history, it makes sense that he is also a -250 pick to win by KO or TKO.
Browne’s team says they’ve prepared him for Beterbiev’s skill and power, however. Trainer Derrick James says they plan to test the champion by taking him into deep waters that he hasn’t experienced in his first 16 fights.
“He might punch us in the face; that’s his job,” James said, via the Montreal Gazette. “But we’re going to punch him in the face as well. And we’ll see how he reacts to it. We know he can punch. We know he’s a big puncher, so we’re focused on the skill set. Beterbiev’s good. He’s a great puncher. We enjoy that.”
Browne says that his preparation will show on Friday night.
“This is the moment in my life that I’ve been waiting for,” Browne said. “I know exactly what I have to do to take the titles from Beterbiev and that’s what I’m going to do.”