A shoulder injury during training has knocked Montreal-based Russian light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev out of a world title elimination fight scheduled for Nov. 28 on Showtime, promoter Yvon Michel announced Tuesday.
Michel was negotiating for Beterbiev to face Russian countryman Igor Mikhalkin (17-1, 9 KOs), 30, the European champion, on a card at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City. The winner of the eliminator would have become a mandatory challenger for three-belt world titleholder Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs), also from Russia.
"I am extremely frustrated and disappointed by the situation," Beterbiev said. "I was preparing myself hard to give another great show to the fans Nov. 28, but I will be back stronger in 2016."
Although the 30-year-old Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KOs) injured his shoulder last week, Michel said the decision to pull the two-time Olympian out of the fight was made Tuesday morning after the fighter met with Dr. Francis Fontaine and surgeon Dr. David Baillargeon, who determined "Beterbiev needs minor but necessary surgery to his right shoulder."
"Under my supervision, Artur had a magnetic resonance examination Friday," Fontaine said. "After a meeting [Tuesday] morning we have decided that Artur's surgery would be performed in the next few days by specialist Dr. Baillargeon. We expect a complete recovery followed by a return to the ring at the beginning of 2016."
Beterbiev is scheduled to begin rehabilitation four days after his surgery under the supervision of physiotherapist Hugo Lettre, Michel said.
"We have absolute confidence in our medical staff, including the talented Dr. Baillargeon," Michel said.
Michel said Baillargeon is the same doctor who operated on former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal's shoulder a few years ago and saved his career.
"Seven months later, Jean defended his title belt, in spectacular fashion, against Chad Dawson," Michel said.
Because of the injury, Beterbiev will lose his spot in the eliminator. He was originally supposed to face Sullivan Barrera (16-0, 11 KOs), 33, a Miami-based Cuban defector, but he was forced out of the fight because of problems getting a visa in time to get into Canada for the fight. However, with Beterbiev out and the Nov. 28 fight off, Barrera promoter Main Events said it expects Barrera's position to be restored and that they will be ordered to negotiate with the Mikhalkin team for the fight.
The two other televised bouts on Nov. 28 remain intact, with super middleweight world titleholder James DeGale (21-1, 14 KOs), of England, defending against former titlist and Quebec star Lucian Bute (32-2, 25 KOs) in the main event and South Africa's Isaac Chilemba (24-2-2, 10 KOs) taking on Montreal-based Colombian Eleider Alvarez (18-0, 10 KOs) in a light heavyweight elimination fight for the right to become the mandatory challenger for world champion Adonis Stevenson (27-1, 22 KOs).