After nearly 18 months, WBC/IBF light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) will make his first title defense as a unified world champion Saturday against Adam Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs) from Megasport Arena in Moscow.
Beterbiev, boxing's only world champion with a 100 percent knockout rate, returns to his home country for the first time as a professional.
Deines, who resides in Germany, has won a pair of bouts since the lone loss of his career.
Programming Note: Undefeated welterweight contender Alexander Besputin (13-0, 9 KOs), who was originally scheduled to fight Maximiliano Ricardo "El Picante" Veron, will now take on Viktor Plotnikov (33-10, 15 KOs) in a 10-rounder. Besputin-Plotnikov will open the ESPN+exclusive portion of the broadcast (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT). The 12-round super middleweight battle of unbeatens - Azizbek Abdugofurov vs. Pavel Silyagin — is the new co-feature and will air immediately preceding Beterbiev vs. Deines on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+) at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT.
Here are some of Beterbiev's thoughts before his showdown against Deines.
"It's been a difficult year for everyone. Now, I'm feeling good. I had a very good preparation, very good camp in Russia. We're ready for a fight."
"I'm very happy to have a fight in my home country. We studied Adam. We watched some videos. We have a couple of strategies."
"You never hear predictions from me. I'm a simple boxer. I'm not like Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali can say, I'll knock him out in eight rounds, or 10 rounds, but I'm not like this. I'm focused on doing my best."
SATURDAY, March 20, 2021
ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+, 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT
Artur Beterbiev vs. Adam Deines, 12 rounds, Beterbiev's WBC/IBF Light Heavyweight World Titles
Azizbek Abdugofurov vs. Pavel Silyagin, 12 rounds, Abdugofurov's WBC Silver Super Middleweight Title
ESPN+, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT
Khariton Agrba vs. Helber Rojas, 10 rounds, junior welterweight
Alexander Besputin vs. Viktor Plotnikov, 10 rounds, welterweight