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Beterbiev signs deal to fight Koelling despite legal battle with promoter GYM

MONTREAL - Light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev has signed a contract to face Germany's Enrico Koelling in an elimination bout despite a court bid to have his contract with promoter Yvon Michel terminated.

Montreal-based Beterbiev announced on Instagram on Friday that the bout is tentatively set for July 29 in Quebec City.

Michel said via text message that the date and venue are not finalized but added "yes we are working to do that fight. Searching for the best timing for U.S. television."

The 32-year-old Beterbiev (11-0), who has never had to go the distance to win, will be looking to become the mandatory challenger for the International Boxing Federation title with a victory over the 27-year-old Koelling (23-1).

"I can't wait to get in the ring against such a great opponent," said Beterbiev. "Also, to avoid any confusion, the acceptance of this fight does not affect in any way the legal proceedings that are currently under way with GYM, which will follow its course separately."

Both sides have said there are no personal problems between them, but Beterbiev, who moved to Montreal from Russia to turn pro in 2013, is reportedly unhappy with the slow progress GYM has made in getting him a title shot. His last fight was a win in December over Isidro Prieto in Gatineau, Que.

Michel has responded that his company has done a good job managing Beterbiev's career and that the demand has no merit.

Beterbiev is one of four Montreal-based light heavyweight contenders.

Adonis Stevenson (28-1) will defend his World Boxing Council title June 3 at the Bell Centre against Andrzej Fonfara (29-4) of Poland. The co-feature has former WBC champion Jean Pascal (31-4-1) facing Colombia native Eleider Alvarez (22-0), with the winner becoming mandatory challenger for Stevenson's belt.

The Ring magazine rates Stevenson third, Alvarez fourth and Beterbiev fifth among the world's light heavyweights.

Champion Andre Ward of the United States will put his IBF, WBA and WBO titles on the line against second-ranked Sergey Kovalev on June 17 in Las Vegas.

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