UNBEATEN light heavyweight title contender, Artur Beterbiev (10-0, 10 KOs), will return to action on December 23rd against Paraguayan slugger and reigning WBC Latino light heavyweight champion, Isidro Ranoni Prieto (26-1-3, 22 KOs). The fight is slated to take place at the Casino Du Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.

The 31-year-old Montreal-based Beterbiev, will be fighting for the second time in 2016 after being sidelined for a year due to a shoulder injury sustained in training. In 2015, the Russian was scheduled to compete in a world title eliminator that would have put him in line to face fellow countryman and light heavyweight kingpin, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev.

Beterbiev retuned in June of this year and stopped Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna in impressive fashion in front of his adopted hometown fans.

“Despite the claims of some promoters and light heavyweight challengers,” Beterbiev’s promoter Yvon Michel said, ”it’s a fact that Artur Beterbiev is the most dangerous and biggest threat to all of the world light heavyweight champions. All contenders for titles change their minds when it comes to getting in the same ring with him.”

Promotional claims are taken with a grain of salt but, in Beterbeiv’s case, they may not be that far-fetched. The menacing Russian had a decorated amateur career, winning a gold medal at the 2009 World Championship, and logging wins against Ismail Sillakh and a young Sergey Kovalev. As a pro, he boasts a one hundred percent knockout ratio, stopping all of his victims, including Tavoris Cloud and Gabriel Campillo, in under seven rounds.

His next opponent, Prieto, is himself a slugger who has found considerable success in his native Latin America. He was undefeated prior to his first fight outside of the southern continent, but fell short to Adonis Stevenson’s current mandatory challenger, Eleider Alvarez in Montreal in 2015. A victory over Beterbiev in December will bring him one step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming the first boxing world champion from Paraguay.

“Isidro Prieto is a fierce fighter who accepted the challenge, also believing he has the style to repel even the most courageous boxer,” Michel continued. “He is determined to make a name for himself December 23rd. We certainly admire his determination.”

The winner of the December match will immediately be thrown into the light heavyweight championship discussion as winners emerge from Kovalev-Ward and Stevenson-Alvarez, if the latter eventually gets made.

If Beterbiev comes out the victor, expect talks regarding a battle for Montreal’s light heavyweight supremacy to really heat up. Stevenson, Alvarez and Beterbiev are all promoted by Groupe Yvon Michel and equally call the Canadian city their home. An action-packed fight card at the Centre Bell, with an elite light heavyweight match as the headliner, would be one of the most anticipated boxing events of 2017.