- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Heavyweight contender Denis Boytsov, who has been beset by hand injuries that have stunted his career, signed a promotional agreement with top German promoter Sauerland Event, the company announced on Monday.
Sauerland Event said the deal takes the 27-year-old through "at least the end of 2015" with the company. Boytsov had been promoted by Universum Box-Promotion, but that company, once Sauerland's chief rival, went bankrupt.
Hand injuries limited Boytsov (33-0, 26 KOs), who was born in Russia but is based in Germany, to only one fight in 2011. They were also the main cause for a 10-month layoff that spanned much of 2012 into early 2013, although he has already fought twice this year.
"After we found out that Denis was officially a free agent, we immediately tried to sign him," said Chris Meyer, managing director of Sauerland Event.
Boytsov, who was a standout amateur (winning 115 of 130 bouts), is close to a mandatory world title shot. He is rated No. 1 by one of the major organizations.
"I am happy to be a part of Team Sauerland, where I will train under the guidance of coach Karsten Roewer," Boytsov said. "Therefore, I will move from Hamburg to Berlin to be close to the training facilities."
Boytsov's first bout under the new deal wasn't announced, but Sauerland Event said it will take place this fall.
Although Boytsov has a pristine professional record, he has yet to face a top-10 contender.