Are We Close To Seeing Artur Beterbiev Vs. Meng Fanlong?
After months of waiting, a new date for the WBC and IBF Light-Heavyweight Championship bout between Artur Beterbiev and Meng Fanlong has been made. A new location has also been determined.
Speaking with Boxing Scene, Top Rank’s Bob Arum announced that there are plans in place to hold the bout on September 25 at the Ekaterinburg Expo in Ekaterinburg, Russia. The initial bout was set to take place inside the Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada on March 28, but it was postponed due to the coronavirus. The fight will air on ESPN but will be featured on the Russian platform.
“The financial deal has been made for the Russian promoter to put on the fight,” Arum said regarding Russian Boxing Federation organizer Kirill Shchekutyev. “Having the TV (rights) in the U.S. was part of the deal, a cornerstone of the deal we made.”
Beterbiev’s (15-0) last bout was a tenth-round TKO win against Oleksandr Gvozdyk in October. As a result, the 35-year-old won the WBC and lineal Light-Heavyweight Titles. A unified champion, this will be his fourth defense of the IBF Light-Heavyweight Title, a title he won against Enrico Kolling back in November 2017. All 15 of his wins have come via knockout.
Currently residing in Montreal, the location would have been ideal for the Russian. Arum went on to state that Beterbiev is interested in fighting in his home country, something he hasn’t done before.
“He’s very anxious to fight in Russia because (the Russian group) can pay him the amount of money that he thinks he is entitled to, which he probably is, but our arrangement for this fight was based on there being a substantial boost from the live gate in Quebec City,” Arum went on to say. “But we can’t do the fight with a gate because of the coronavirus.”
Fanlong (16-0), has won ten fights via knockout. His last bout was a TKO-win against Gilberto Rubio back in October. Winning the IBF Inter-Continental light-heavyweight title back in 2017, Fanlong is looking to add more gold to his collection.
Rejoy Group initially won a bid of $1.9 million to stage the event in China, but Top Rank eventually regained control to have the rights to the fight.