Mike Coppinger

Andre Berto cleared to spar, plans July return bout

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Andre Berto is one step closer to a return.

The former welterweight beltholder has been cleared to commence light sparring after recovering from shoulder surgery in August. Berto, 30, suffered a torn tendon in his right shoulder in a stoppage loss to Jesus Soto Karass in July, and he’s set to begin full-contact sparring in mid-April ahead of a planned July return bout.

"These last seven months and the whole rehab process haven't been easy at all, but it was worth it to finally be able to get back in the ring," Berto said in a press release Tuesday. "I'm refocusing all my energy on coming back at 100 percent and showing all of my fans the best Andre Berto both mentally and physically. I have learned a lot during this time off and everyone is going to see all of that in my next fight."

Berto (28-3, 22 knockouts) has lost two consecutive bouts and three of his last four outings. He spent a month in Northern California this year training under the tutelage of Virgil Hunter, and now is focusing on conditioning work in Los Angeles.  

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