RUSSIA’S Artur Beterbiev is only eight fights into his professional career, yet he’s already made a statement, with his notable stoppages of Tavoris Cloud and Gabriel Campillo. Beterbiev is gunning for the top dogs in his weight class.

“I enjoy [tough matchmaking]. I want to be on top, I want to fight the best,” he told Boxing News.

Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev currently rule the light-heavyweight division but Beterbiev demures from picking a leader between them. “I don’t know, it’s 50-50. That’s exactly what I said when Kovalev was fighting [Jean] Pascal, I don’t like to predict, I’m not a Nostradamus,” he said.

His latest victory, when he halted Campillo, came with an astonishing finishing below. “I was praying [when appearing to talk to himself after Campillo stoppage). I don’t like to celebrate and jump on the ropes, I’m a quiet guy,” said the Russian. “It also shows respect to the other fighter – if you’re jumping, and celebrating, it’s not nice.”

Beterbiev doesn’t seem susceptible to excessive demonstrations of emotion – “I have no heroes, but my favourite fighters are [Mike] Tyson and [Muhammad] Ali, I really liked their style,” he notes – but he is enjoying his professional development. “I’m definitely enjoying work with Marc [Ramsey, his trainer]. Even though I don’t speak fluent English, or French, we understand each other. Just by looking at the results of my fights, I think he’s very good, I enjoy working with him,” Beterbiev says.

“I feel big progress since I became a pro. You can see I’m improving in every fight, but there’s definitely a lot to learn from the amateurs to pros.

“We don’t see each other after the gym, because I spend most of the time with my family, and he has family also, but we see each other at least four hours a day when I train.”