As an amateur, Beterbiev won a silver medal at the 2007 World Championships, gold at the 2009 World Championships, as well as gold at the 2006 and 2010 European Championships, all in the light-heavyweight division. He also reached the quarter-finals of the heavyweight bracket at the 2012 Olympics.
Beterbiev competed as a light-heavyweight and heavyweight in his amateur career. He won the 2006 European Amateur Boxing Championships beating Kenneth Egan and Ismail Sillakh among others. He beat Egor Mekhontsev but lost to two-time world champion Evgeny Makarenko in 2006.[clarification needed] In 2007 he beat future unified light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in the semi-finals, and eventually beat Evgeny Makarenko in finals to qualify for the World Championships. In the finals of the World Championships he faced the little-known Abbos Atoev but lost in an upset.
At the 2011 World Championships he lost to eventual winner Oleksandr Usyk by 13–17. At the 2012 Olympics he edged out Michael Hunter but lost again by 13–17 to Usyk. Both of these were in the heavyweight division.
Beterbiev moved to Montreal to pursue a professional career. He won his professional debut via a second-round TKO over Christian Cruz at the Bell Centre on July 8, 2013. Beterbiev fought on the undercard of Jean Pascal vs. Lucian Bute, beating Gabriel Lecrosnier by TKO on the fourth round.