Artur Beterbiev, now recovered from COVID-19, to defend titles vs. Adam Deines on March 20

Unified light heavyweight world titlist Artur Beterbiev's title defense against Adam Deines has been rescheduled for March 20, most likely in Russia, according to the WBC.

Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs), of Russia, who also owns the IBF title, was scheduled to face Meng Fanlong in March 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic forced that fight to be rescheduled for October 2020. When Fanlong couldn't secure a visa to travel to Russia for the fight, he was replaced by Deines. A month before the fight was supposed to take place, Beterbiev suffered a rib injury and the bout was postponed and rescheduled for Jan. 30. But Beterbiev tested positive for COVID-19 and the fight was postponed again. According to the WBC, Beterbiev has now recovered from the virus.

Beterbiev, 35, won the IBF title with a KO victory over Enrico Koelling in 2017. He added the WBC belt by defeating Oleksandr Gvozdyk by 10th-round TKO in October 2019.

Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs), 29, of Russia, but based in Germany, has won two consecutive fights since losing to Meng in June 2019.

On Monday, the WBC ordered former super middleweight titlist Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez and Marcus Browne to start negotiations to fight for the WBC light heavyweight interim title due to the uncertainty of Beterbiev's return.

"This is an interesting opportunity and I'm ready to fight anyone in the light heavyweight division to leave my mark on the sport," Ramirez said via press release. "I know Marcus has been out of the ring for a while, but he's a U.S. Olympian and still one of the best in the game. I know he's wanted this fight for a while and hopefully we can make something happen.

"In addition, it's always been my dream to get the green belt [WBC] and bring it back to Mexico."