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Artur Beterbiev WON’T have to fight Fanlong Meng in China

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By Dean Berman: Artur Beterbiev won’t be vacating his IBF light heavyweight title after all. According to @NaAudet_TVA, the International Boxing Federation have withdrawn the rights to stage the Beterbiev vs. Fanlong Meng (16-0, 10 KOs) fight after the Chinese group Rejoy Group failed to make the deposit to the IBF.

Top Rank now has control of the staging of the Beterbiev-Meng fight, and they plan on having it take place on March 28 in either Moscow or Quebec.

Top Rank recently lost a purse bid to the Rejoy group to stage the Beterbiev-Meng fight. The Rejoy group had planned on staging the fight in China, and Beterbiev reportedly wasn’t going to go along with that idea.

There was talk that the unbeaten IBF/WBC light heavyweight Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) was going to vacate his IBF title, and keep his WBC belt. Now that Top Rank is in change of staging the fight, Beterbiev will keep his IBF strap, and face Meng in Quebec or Moscow.

Beterbiev to fight on March 28 in Quebec or Moscow

“Exclusive: The IBF withdraws the rights to the fights of Artur Beterbiev and Meng Fanlong at Rejoy Group. Top Rank obtains the organization of the duel. The American promoter plans to organize the fight in Quebec or Moscow on March 28,” said Nancy Audet of TVAsports.ca @NaAudet_TVA.

“Artur Beterbiev will not have to fight in China against Meng Fanlong. The Chinese group Rejoy Group has not made the deposit required by the IBF. Top Rank being the second bidder wins the bet. There is a good chance that the fight will take place in Quebec.

“Top Rank has two possible choices for the next fight of Artur Beterbiev. Quebec or Moscow. The date envisaged is always March 28. His team thinks it is possible to organize the duel without a Quebec promoter,” said Nancy.

Beterbiev vs. Meng isn’t a fight that a lot of boxing fans are looking forward to with anticipation. Meng is the IBF’s designated mandatory that they picked out, but there are arguably far better contenders in the 175-lb weight class than him. The IBF picked Meng out as their mandatory after his recent wins over these fighters:

  • Gilberto Rubio (9-9, 6 KOs)
  • Adam Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs)
  • Frank Buglioni (22-4-1, 16 KOs)
  • Chris Eppley (11-5, 10 KOs)

Meng hasn’t established himself as a high level fighter since turning pro in 2015. He fought in the Olympics in 2012 in representing China, but he hasn’t done anything that stands out in the pro ranks. It would be a huge upset if Meng were to defeat Beterbiev, as he’s not a big puncher, and not fast of hand.

Beterbiev coming off of win over Oleksandr Gvozdyk

In Beterbiev’s last fight, he defeated WBC 17-lb Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs) by a 10th round knockout. The underdog Beterbiev came from behind to stop Gvozdyk in the 10th round, and he looked impressive in that match.

The body punching that Beterbiev did in the later rounds enabled him to turn the tables on Gvozdyk. Afterwards, Beterbiev says he’d wished started going to Gvozdyk’s body earlier in the contest.

That was the kind of performance that won Beterbiev a lot of new boxing fans. The fight was televised on ESPN in the U.S, and a lot of people like what they saw of the 2-time Russian Olympian.

Arum wants to match Beterbiev against Dmitry Bivol after Meng fight

“Eddie Hearn said he would make Bivol available to fight the winner of this fight,” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum to Fighthype.

It would be up to Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn if he wants to let the unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) take on Beterbiev. Bivol has looked good in the last three years beating these fighters:

  • Sullivan Barrera
  • Jean Pascal
  • Joe Smith Jr.
  • Isaac Chilemba
  • Lenin Castillo
  • Trent Broadhurst

There’s a considerable difference in Bivol fighting those types of fighters than facing Beterbiev, who is hard puncher with a pressure style of fighting. Bivol is a smaller light heavyweight, and he lacks power. He wins his fights with his technical boxing skills, and he’s not been matched against anyone with great talent as of yet.


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