Boxing’s preeminent knockout artist, WBC/IBF light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev, invites American fight fans for An Afternoon With Artur.
Beterbiev’s title defense against top contender Adam Deines — Saturday, March 20 at Megasport Arena in Moscow — will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (and simulcast on ESPN+) at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT.
In the televised co-feature, welterweight contender Alexander Besputin returns to action in a 10-rounder against Argentine veteran Maximiliano Ricardo Veron.
Undercard fights will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.
Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs), a two-time Russian Olympian, returns to home soil for the first time as a professional. He unified world titles in October 2019 with a 10th-round TKO over Oleksandr Gvozdyk, solidifying his position as the sport’s top light heavyweight. Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs) has won a pair of bouts since dropping a decision to Meng Fanlong and enters as the underdog looking to spoil Beterbiev’s perfect record and status as the only current world champion with a 100 percent knockout rate.
Besputin (13-0, 9 KOs) has not fought since November 2019, when he bested Radzhab Butaev by unanimous decision to win a version of the welterweight world title. The result was changed to a no-contest after Besputin tested positive for a banned substance. Veron (12-3-1, 4 KOs) is coming off a career-best performance in November 2019, a unanimous decision over Diego Ramirez (21-2 at the time) to win the IBF Latino welterweight belt.
The following bouts are scheduled for the ESPN+-exclusive portion of the broadcast:
Former Russian amateur standout Khariton Agrba (4-0, 1 KO), a 2019 European Games silver medalist, will fight Venezuelan veteran Jesus Cuadro (19-7, 15 KOs) in a 10-rounder for WBA Continental super lightweight strap. The 25-year-old Agrba is considered one of Russia’s top young talents, as he won more than 300 bouts in the unpaid ranks before turning pro in December 2019.
Azizbek Abdugofurov (13-0, 5 KOs) will defend his WBC Silver super middleweight belt in a 12-rounder against fellow unbeaten Pavel Silyagin (6-0 4 KOs). Abdugofurov, from Uzbekistan, is ranked fourth by the WBC at super middleweight.