Raymundo Beltran is ready to defend his title…
The 36-year-old Mexican professional boxer, the reigning WBO lightweight word titleholder, will face Russian mandatory challenger Roman Andreev on August 25 at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, not far from Beltran’s home base in Phoenix.
The fight, which will be the main event of a Top Rank Boxingon ESPN card, was squared away on Tuesday when Carl Moretti, vice president of Top Rank, which is Beltran’s promoter, won the purse bid for the fight with an offer of $252,000 at the WBO offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Top Rank was the only bidder. Andreev’s promoter, Patriot Promotions, did not attend the purse bid as it is not registered with the WBO and, therefore, was not eligible to bid on the fight.
Beltran is entitled to 75 percent of the bid ($189,000) and Andreev will receive 25 percent ($63,000).
“It’s probably a very tough and competitive fight,” Moretti said. “It’s probably the kind of all-action fight Ray Beltran is usually in. I don’t see this fight being much different than the usual fights Ray is in. Andreev is a strong, come-forward fighter with full intentions of winning the title and taking it back to Russia, which would not please [Top Rank chairman] Mr. [Bob] Arum.”
Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs won a vacant 135-pound world title in his fourth chance on February 16 when he outpointed Paulus Moses in a bruising battle in Reno, Nevada.
Beltran will be making his first defense against Andreev (21-0, 15 KOs).
Andreev, 32, who has not faced a top opponent in his 10-year career, will be fighting in the United States for the third time. He boxed in the U.S. twice in 2010, including on the Andre Ward–Sakio Bika undercard in Oakland, California.
After Beltran won the belt and pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko moved up in weight from junior lightweight and knocked out Jorge Linares on May 12 to win a lightweight world title, Top Rank planned to match them in a title unification bout on August 25.
However, Lomachenko suffered a torn labrum in the bout with Linares and had surgery. He will not be back in the ring until at least the fall. Top Rank then hoped to match Beltran with lightweight contender Jose Pedraza, a former junior lightweight world titlist it had recently signed. However, once the unification bout was off the table, Andreev’s camp pressed for the mandatory fight, according to Top Rank, and the WBO ordered the bout.
If Beltran wins on August 25, he could face Lomachenko near the end of the year in the unification fight. Moretti said that if Andreev wins he could be offered the unification fight.