Talk is cheap as Beterbiev and Browne focus on the Bell Center title fight

Montrealer and the American challenger avoid the pre-fight hype, preferring to let their gloves do the talking in Friday’s 12-round main event.

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They may be the class of the light heavyweight division, but Artur Beterbiev and Marcus Browne know nothing about the pre-fight hype or the histrionic frequently associated with the sport.

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Hopefully their 12-round main event, Friday night at the Bell Center, raises the bar.

Beterbiev and Browne met Wednesday afternoon for their pre-fight press conference at a downtown Montreal hotel. But there was no shouting, pointing, or bravado; nothing that would make someone clamor to pay a high dollar to watch them fight.

Except this: Beterbiev (16-0 with 16 knockouts), is the unified champion of the World Boxing Council and the International Boxing Federation of 175 pounds, considered among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Browne (24-1 with 16 KOs) is the mandatory challenger, ranked first by the WBC and seventh by the IBF and the World Boxing Organization.

“I can say anything, but maybe it’s not true,” said Beterbiev, 36, who is originally from Russia but has been living and training in Montreal since turning pro in 2013. He hasn’t fought in Montreal since 2016.

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“I can’t say that he will be my toughest opponent,” Beterbiev added. “I have no answer. I can’t say what will happen. We will see.

“We are ready, we are here and we had a good training camp. I’ll do my best on (Friday). Thank you. That’s it.”

Browne, from Staten Island, NY, has been a professional for nine years, but has never competed for a world title. And at age 31, this might be the closest a skilled southpaw gets to a championship. It is imperative that you make the most of this opportunity.

“We train hard for this fight, like every fighter does,” Browne said. “He is a tough customer, a great champion. But when Friday night rolls around, we’ll change the narrative. I do not have much to say. I already want to fight.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe. Come Friday night, you’ll see. I’m tired of talking I want to fight.”

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This will be Browne’s first time working with Derrick James. The Dallas-based trainer, highly selective in the small stable of boxers he works with, gained notoriety for managing world champions Errol Spence (welterweight) and junior middleweight Jermell Charlo.

A victory for Browne, fighting outside of the US for the first time as a professional, would provide James with his third unified champion. But he has realized that since arriving in Montreal on Sunday, his protégé is considered a big loser.

“When he came to me, he was a good fighter,” James said. “I just came and built on it. I believe in myself and I believe in Marcus.

“I appreciate and accept the fact that we are considered so underprivileged.”

As much as Browne has wagered on the fight, the stakes for Beterbiev are arguably higher.

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It is promoted by the legendary Bob Arum, founder and CEO of Top Rank. While Arum, who recently turned 90 and is still involved in the fighting game, will not be in Montreal, his organization has spoken out about Beterbiev’s meeting with WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. Beterbiev’s name has also been used. associated with a possible showdown against Canelo Alvarez, the unified super middleweight champion.

“This is one of the most important letters we have ever made,” said co-promoter Yvon Michel. “Artur Beterbiev is probably the best fighter we have had in Canada. For the boxing world, this is an important fight, especially since Beterbiev is considered probably the best possible challenge for Alvarez, the most popular fighter in the world right now.

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“Anyone whose name is associated with Canelo gets worldwide attention.”

Nonetheless, Michel said he admires the sacrifices Browne made to make this fight happen in Montreal. Not only did he move to Texas when hiring James, Browne was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, allowing him to enter Canada.

Michel had to cancel a WBC bridgeweight title fight between Oscar Rivas and Bryant Jennings, scheduled for October 22 in Montreal, after the American informed the promoter in September that he refused to get vaccinated. The contracts were signed last April.

“Browne did everything he could to make sure he fought in Montreal,” Michel said.

Highlighting Friday’s undercard is the co-feature, a 10-round fight for the vacant IBF women’s super welterweight title between Marie-Eve Dicaire of St-Eustache (17-1) and Cynthia Lozano of Mexico (9-0). , seven KOs).

Former IBF champion Dicaire surrendered her title to unified champion Claressa Shields last March by unanimous decision. Dicaire is a 35-year-old southpaw.

Eight more bouts are scheduled for Friday, with the opening bell at 7 p.m.

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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