Artur Beterbiev Tests Positive For COVID-19, Title Defense Against Adam Deines Postponed

Unified WBC and IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev will once again have to sit on the sidelines a while longer before he could get back into the ring. Beterbiev’s planned January 30 title bout against Deines has now been postponed as a result of Beterbiev testing positive for COVID-19. The fight was supposed to headline an ESPN+ card live from Moscow, Russia. Top Rank would confirm the news shortly after Beterbiev announced his COVID-19 positive test on social media. No new date for the fight was announced. The promotional entity added that “information about the rescheduled Beterbiev-Deines showdown will be announced in due course.” “Dear friends! Unfortunately, I got a coronavirus. Therefore, my fight with Adam Deines, scheduled for January 30, is postponed for a later date. I will try to recover as soon as possible and return to preparations. I hope for your understanding and support,” Beterbiev noted on social media. This is the second time in recent months that the fight has been postponed. The title clash originally set for October 23, also in Moscow, was postponed due to Beterbiev suffering a rib injury. Beterbiev has not fought since his impressive win over Oleksandr Gvozdyk in Philadelphia in October 2019 when he stopped him in the 10th round to unify the WBC and IBF titles. Beterbiev is the only unified champion at light heavyweight and is the only world champion to have a 100 percent KO rate. It has been a major struggle for Beterbiev to fight. He was due to defend his titles against mandatory challenger Meng Fanlong back in March until the coronavirus pandemic canceled those plans. After that, there were plans to potentially have the two fight in September, but travel issues involving Fanlong put a stop to it. Fanlong would have been able to travel to Russia, where the planned rescheduled fight was to take place, but he would have been unable to go back to his home country of China or to the United States, where he trains in New Jersey. Once it was clear Fanlong wouldn’t be able to fight Beterbiev, plans shifted for him to face Deines. The 29-year-old Deines has won two straight since Fanlong beat him in an IBF light heavyweight title eliminator back in 2019 in Macau. The 35-year-old Beterbiev, who turns 36 in January, has held a version of the light heavyweight world title since November 2017 when he scored a 12th-round victory over Enrico Koelling. Since that win over Koelling, Beterbiev has only fought three times.

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