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Arum: Beterbiev to defend against IBF mandatory Fanlong Meng next

Artur Beterbiev

By Kenneth Friedman: Following his 10th round knockout win over WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk last Friday, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says he plans on having Artur Beterbiev to defend his IBF light heavyweight title next against his mandatory Fanlong Meng next in an Island outside of China.

Beterbiev to fight Dmitry Bivol after Meng fight

If Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) wins the fight against the 31-year-old Meng, Arum will then look to match him against WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in a unification match. Arum says he already spoke with Bivol’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, and he’s on board with making the Beterbiev-Bivol fight.

A lot of people want to see Beterbiev and Bivol square off. That’s an interesting match if both guys can keep winning.

Arum also says WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev is a possible option for Beterbiev as well if he wins his November 2 fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez.

Dmitry Bivol having problems knocking guys out

Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) needs to improve his power game for him to have a chance against Beterbiev, because he’s too weak right now to beat him. Bivol’s last four fights have gone the full 12 round distance against these fighters:

  • Lenin Castillo
  • Joe Smith Jr
  • Jean Pascal
  • Isaac Chilemba

Arum: Beterbiev has big offer to fight Fanlong in Island off China

“Beterbiev has an obligation with the IBF,” said Beterbiev’s promoter Bob Arum about his next fight. “We got permission to do this unification [against Gvozdyk], and he has to fight Dino Duva’s fighter Meng, who is a pretty good Chinese guy. We’re hoping to do that fight in China. We have a big offer to go to an Island off China, which they call the Chinese Hawaii.

“It’s supposed to have beautiful weather all year round, and it has 12 golf courses. After that, Eddie Hearn said he would make [WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry] Bivol available to fight the winner of this fight [Beterbiev vs. Fanlong] on ESPN. So we’ll take him up on that. Then we’ll have to see with Kovalev and Canelo. If Kovalev wins, there’s a possibility to make that fight,” said Arum.

This is disappointing news about Beterbiev defending against little known #1 IBF Fanlong in his next fight, because boxing fans want to see him face Bivol or the Kovalev vs. Canelo winner. Fanlong fought in the 2012 Olympics for China, and was beaten in his second fight in the competition by Yamaguchi Falcao.

Meng was a good amateur, but not a great one. He also lost to Lenin Castillo and Adilbek Niyazymbetov. Castillo is the same guy that Bivol recently beat. Since turning pro in 2015, Meng has been beating lower level opposition exclusively. His best wins thus far have come against Daniel Judah, Frank Buglioni and Adam Deines. Fanlong’s management hasn’t really stepped him up, but perhaps that’s the best. Had they put Fanlong in with a good contender, he likely would have lost already.

Arum had Gvozdyk ahead of Beterbiev at time of stoppage

“He’s got tremendous energy, and stays in there and wins the fight,” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum about Beterbiev. “I thought Gvozdyk was winning the fight, yeah. It was close, but he [Gvozdyk] was winning the fight. Clearly, Gvozdyk was coming on in the last two rounds. Before the last two rounds, not including the knockout round [10], Gvozdyk was comfortably ahead,” said Arum.

Well, two of the judges agreed with Arum’s opinion that Gvozdyk was ahead at the time of the stoppage, but he couldn’t hold it together to go the full 12 rounds. That’s the problem that 14 other opponents have had in facing Beterbiev. They’re not able to stay in for the full contest for it to go to decision.

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