Beterbiev considers move to cruiserweight if he becomes undisputed champion

Unified world light-heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19KOs) has dropped suggestions that he may be considering a move up to the cruiserweight division if he becomes undisputed light-heavyweight champion. 

Beterbiev had been due to defend his WBC, WBO & IBF world light-heavyweight titles last month against mandatory challenger Callum Smith; he had been forced to withdraw from the contest in the weeks before the contest due to an infected jaw which required surgery. The mandatory defence has since been rescheduled for January 13th in Quebec City, Canada. 

Beterbiev has long harboured ambitions of becoming undisputed in the light-heavyweight division. Still, his quote given to the TASS news agency is the first to suggest that he may also be considering a jump up to another weight class. 

“I want to win all the light heavyweight titles and then test myself in another weight class,” Beterbiev said to Tass.

The 38-year-old captured his maiden world title in 2017 against Enrico Koelling before defeating Oleksandr Gvozdyk in ten rounds in 2019 to add the WBC world crown to his resume. Last year, Beterbiev would brutally halt Joe Smith inside two rounds to add the WBO world title to his collection. 

Beterbiev was last in action in January against Anthony Yarde in a thrilling encounter before securing an 8th-round stoppage at London’s O2 Arena. 

Dmitry Bivol is the current WBA champion, and attempts to sign and seal the encounter have been fruitless due to being unable to agree on financials and signed to differing promotional entities. However, the main stumbling block is currently the stance of the WBC, who are, as things stand, publicly announced that they will refuse to sanction any title fight featuring fighters from either Russia or Belarus. This stance stems from the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and is a symbolic act of support. 

The WBC has conceded that they would encourage Bivol to submit an exception to their ruling due to the standing the fight would have within the sport, but as a whole, the WBC will not drop this ruling until military action is brought to a halt between Russia and Ukraine. 

Beterbiev originates from Russia but has fought under the flagship of Canada, where he is based, and became a Canadian citizen. 

The prospect of an undisputed showdown between Beterbiev and Biviol will not take place till mid-2024 at the earliest due to Beterbiev’s ongoing mandatory commitments with Callum Smith.