Who Will Reportedly Face Off Against Artur Beterbiev?
After initially teasing a fight between the two, it appears that Top Rank will be going towards another direction with Artur Beterbiev and Meng Fanlong.
ESPN was the first to report that Beterbiev will be defending his WBC and IBF Light-Heavyweight Titles against Adam Deines. Taking place on September 25, the bout will be in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Fanlong, who is the mandatory challenger, will not be able to compete due to visa issues.
“We want the Beterbiev fight,” stated Tommy Lane, advisor to Fanlong. “He wants it, the team wants it, we just can’t make it happen right now because it’s in Russia.”
“We’re being told by the IBF that our ranking and our mandatory status will not change, and we should be next in line,” said Terry Lane. “But they have not given us official word.”
The Lane’s went on to say that Fanlong (16-0) would not be able to re-enter China or the United States if he were to fight in Russia. They told Boxing Scene that Fanlong has a single-entry P-1 visa, which he would have to renew each time. Additionally, the border between China and Russia is closed due to COVID-19. Both Fanlong and Beterbiev were supposed to clash in Canada before the coronavirus postponed those plans.
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.