A rash of injuries has derailed WBC, WBO, and IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev's career in recent years. 

Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs) was supposed to square off against WBA beltholder Dmitrii Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs) on Saturday in a highly anticipated fight for the undisputed 175-pound title.

But earlier this month, Beterbiev suffered a ruptured meniscus requiring knee surgery and is expected to be sidelined until the fall. The fight is expected to be rescheduled by the end of the year. The WBA titleholder Bivol will stay busy and keep his planned June 1 fight date against Malik Zinad in Saudi Arabia.

Beterbiev, 39, can't seem to escape the injury bug during his title reign, as four out of his last six fights (including Bivol) have gone through five separate health-related postponements.  

Beterbiev stopped Callum Smith in January but the fight was postponed because Beterbiev had dental surgery that led to a bone infection in his jaw

Before the Smith fight, Beterbiev faced Anthony Yarde in January 2023, and that fight was also postponed due to Beterbiev undergoing surgery to clean tissue from his knee. Beterbiev's mandatory title defense against Adam Deines in March 2021 was also postponed twice throughout 2020 due to an injured rib and contracting COVID-19. 

Beterbiev, a titleholder since 2017, also had right shoulder surgery in 2015 and suffered a nasty gash across his forehead in a bloodbath of a bout against Marcus Browne in December 2021. 

Two-time super middleweight titleholder David Benavidez is also eyeing a run at the 175-pound title. 

Benavidez will be making his light heavyweight debut on June 15 against former belt holder Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who lost to Beterbiev in 2019. 

The fight will serve as the co-main event for the Gervonta Davis vs. Frank Martin matchup on Prime Video, and the winner between Benavidez-Gvozdyk will become the WBC’s interim light heavyweight titleholder. 

Benavidez doesn’t like Beterbiev’s chances against Bivol, who is one of his former sparring partners

“Beterbiev is getting older and he works out hard. He does a lot of weights, so maybe that's what is slowing him down,” Benavidez told BoxingScene. “His chances of beating Bivol are getting slimmer and slimmer. But at the end of the day, I don't want to speak on what those men can and can't do. I'm just staying on the sidelines and waiting to see what's going to happen. If I do my job against Gvozdyk, it’s going to put me in the position to face the winner of that fight.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.