Artur Beterbiev finally has an opponent and a date for his next IBF light heavyweight world title defense.
Promoters Yvon Michel and Eddie Hearn confirmed that Beterbiev will defend his IBF title against Callum Johnson on October 6 in the United States. The deal comes hours before both sides were set to have a purse bid for the fight. The title bout will take place in the United States either in Chicago or in New York and will likely be streamed exclusively in the U.S. on the DAZN platform scheduled to launch in the country later this summer.
The IBF ordered Beterbiev and Johnson to fight for the titles after several boxers who are ranked higher than Johnson refused a title shot against Beterbiev. Although Johnson is ranked No. 8, the fight will fulfill Beterbiev's mandatory order.
Beterbiev won the vacant IBF title last November when he knocked out Enrico Koelling in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card. Beterbiev got his shot at the IBF title after it was vacated last year when former unified champion Andre Ward retired, vacating the WBA and WBO titles in the process.
Johnson, who was previously unranked in the IBF rankings in March, scored the one of biggest wins of his career when got a TKO win over Frank Buglioni in March. Johnson retained the Commonwealth title while also winning the BBBofC light heavyweight title in that win over Buglioni, which was his first fight since September 2016.