Artur Beterbiev Stops Marcus Browne in Nine Rounds to Retain Light Heavyweight Titles!
On December 17, former WBA interim light heavyweight champion Marcus “Sir” Browne (24-2, 16KOs) attempted to become unified light heavyweight champion in taking on Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17KOs). Ultimately, the WBC and IBF belts left on the fighter’s waist that they came in on. The win puts Beterbiev in line to challenge fellow light heavyweight champions Dimitry Bivol (19-0, 11KOs), who holds the WBA title, and Joe Smith Jr (27-3, 21KOs), who holds the WBO title. An even bigger payday against undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez is also an option as he’s expressed interest in fighting Beterbiev in the past.
Browne, a 2021 US Olympian, was a major underdog heading into this match-up. Additionally, this bout was his first with new trainer Derrick James. His last bout was a dominant unanimous decision win over Denis Grachev back in April. Prior to that, his last ring appearance was in August of 2019. There, he would lose a technical decision to Jean Pascal. In the fight with Pascal, he was dropped three times.
Still unbeaten, the hard-hitting Russian champion is viewed as arguably the best fighter at light heavyweight. His penchant for pain, punishment and knockouts have put him on the radar for big fights. Prior to stepping in the ring with Browne, Beterbiev faced a little bit of adversity on the scales. He came in at 175.2 pounds; two ounces overweight. Although he quickly shed the remaining weight.
Browne started the fight off just the way he wanted to. The former interim champion came out jabbing to the head and working the body with right hooks, all while keeping active feet that allowed him to elude the incoming attack from the champion. On the flipside, Beterbiev was left ineffective as he came forward pressing the action but not landing much leather.
In round four, an accidental headbutt would open a horrendous cut on the forehead of Beterbiev. He would immediately started pouring blood. Browne also suffered a cut on his right eye. Sensing the fight could be stopped at any moment, Beterbiev turned up the pressure and started to connect with hard shots.
Round five would be the unified champion’s best round to this point. He pummeled the challenger with hurtful punches to the head and body. At this point, a clearly fatigued Browne was relegated to throwing pot shots off the ropes. The momentum was clearly on the Russian’s side.
Round seven was huge for Beterbiev as the pressure finally got to Browne. Walking his opponent down, a hard right hand from the champion sent the challenger down on his knee. Round nine would be a painful conclusion for Browne as he wilted under the body attack from Beterbiev. A left hook to the body left him unwilling to get up and continue fighting.
For Beterbiev, it wasn’t his best performance, but he got the job done in the end. He keeps his perfect knockout percentage intact. He now owns 17 straight wins. At 36 years old, Beterbiev needs to stay active. Hopefully we see him in with the other light heavyweight champions at some point in 2022. As for Browne, he put up a valiant effort but ultimately came up short. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.
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By: Jerrell Fletcher