Artur Beterbiev elimination bout cancelled after fighter refused U.S. visa

Artur Beterbiev elimination bout cancelled after fighter refused U.S. visa

Montreal-based boxer Artur Beterbiev was refused a visa to fight in the United States, forcing the cancellation of his scheduled title-elimination match with German Enrico Koelling, promoter Yvon Michel announced Wednesday.

Beterbiev (11-0), a native of Khasavyurt, Russia, who moved to Montreal in 2013, was scheduled to fight Koelling (23-1) on July 29 in New York to determine the mandatory challenger for Andre Ward’s International Boxing Federation light heavyweight title.

Michel did not say why the visa was refused, but it was likely due to tighter travel restrictions in place this year. Beterbiev, a Muslim from the Dagestan region of Russia, had no problem entering the U.S. for his 2015 victory in Chicago over Alexander Johnson.

The promoter said he was informed June 21 that the visa was refused. An appeal was also turned down.

A decision to scrap the bout was made jointly by Michel, Koelling’s promoter Chris Mayer, promoter Leon Margules and the IBF, which is expected to hold a purse bid to see if a new date and venue for the bout can be arranged.

Beterbiev, a 2009 amateur world champion, has stopped all of his opponents before the distance. The 32-year-old is rated fourth in the world among light heavyweight contenders by The Ring magazine.

The Canadian Press

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