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Artur Beterbiev vs. Fanlong Meng being moved to U.S on March 28

Artur Beterbiev

By Chris Williams: This month’s March 28th fight between IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and Fanlong Meng will no longer be taking place at the Videotron Center in Quebec, Canada.

Instead, the fight could now be taking place inside a studio rather than an arena in the United States, according to RDS.

The government of Quebec has a ban on crowds of more than 250 fans, a move done as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to the Beterbiev vs. Meng fight being moved to a studio in the U.S, the undercard fight between heavyweights Oscar Rivas and Devin Vargas would be moved as well.

Having the Beterbiev-Meng card take place in a studio has its advantages over staging it in an empty arena. There’s no need for an arena if the crowd and media won’t be present.

The April 25 fight between IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue and WBO champion John Riel Casimero will be taking place behind closed doors inside of a studio.

Last Thursday, Beterbiev’s public training, which was scheduled for Friday at the Videotron Center in Quebec, was canceled.

When the Beterbiev vs. Meng fight was first talked about. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum was keen on staging the fight on an island outside of China. That was many months ago before the COVID 19 pandemic erupted, and things have changed.

For the time being, promoters will need to consider moving their fight cards behind closed doors for them to take place. With bans on large crowds in some places, it’s not possible to stage boxing matches. Moreover, it’s a risk to the fighters, their teams and to the fans to stage fights that involve large crowds.

The 32-year-old Meng, who comes from China, has fought largely obscure opposition since turning professional in 2016. He became the International Boxing Federation 175-lb mandatory challenger by beating Germany’s Adam Deines last June by a 12 round unanimous decision.

That along with Meng’s 5th round knockout win over Frank Buglioni are easily the biggest victories of his career. Buglioni is a former British light heavyweight champion.

Meng isn’t expected to give Beterbiev any problems whatsoever. He’s more of a minor speed bump that Beterbiev needs to get out of the way in order for him to keep his IBF title. There are far bigger fights out there for Beterbiev that he wants to get to after he takes care of Meng.

The good news is the Beterbiev-Meng fight hasn’t been canceled or postponed by Top Rank. This week, Top Rank canceled their March 14 and March 17 cards due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Arum had thought of staging the fights behind closed doors, but after consulting with medical personnel, he chose to cancel. The main problem with staging the fight indoors was the testing of the fighters for coronavirus that would need to be done. Without easy access to testing kits to test for the virus, it was too risky to stage the fight. Presumably, Arum will have found a way fo testing to be done on the fighters for Beterbiev-Meng card on March 28.

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