TOP LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT MENG FANLONG NOW A FREE AGENT
SEPTEMBER 22nd, 2020 NEW YORK CITY – Former Olympian and #1 ranked IBF light heavyweight contender Meng Fanlong (16-0, 10 KOs) is now a promotional free agent after reaching a separation agreement with Roc Nation.
“I’m very happy to be a free agent,” said Meng. “I have the best team around me, my advisors Terry and Tommy Lane, my trainer Shaun George, my attorney Scott Shaffer and my Chinese representative Kurt Li. They are building a solid plan for my career and I am really looking forward to the future. I am still the mandatory challenger in the IBF. Let’s get it on!”
Last summer, Meng earned the IBF’s #1 ranking with a 2019 victory over then-undefeated Adam Deines. As a result, Meng was set to fight unified champion Artur Beterbiev on March 28th, 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic KO’d the bout. In late 2018, Meng traveled to Monte Carlo and stopped British contender Frank Buglioni in five rounds, sending Buglioni into retirement. His most recent fight was a second-round stoppage of Gilberto Rubio that was not televised anywhere.
Despite his undefeated record and stellar amateur background highlighted by representing his native China at the 2012 Olympic games, Meng remains relatively unknown in the United States. His current team intends for that to change soon.
“We can’t wait for people to see him fight;” said Meng’s advisor, Tommy Lane. “He is one of the best fighters in boxing today and is yet to fight on a major platform, and that’s a shame. We hope to change that very soon. We are currently feilding different opportunities for Fanlong.”
ABOUT MENG FANLONG
Meng Fanlong is a Chinese, undefeated, professional boxer who competes in the light heavyweight division. Meng has a long list of amateur boxing accomplishments, including earning a spot on the the 2012 Chinese Olympic team. He is now a top-ten ranked light heavyweight as a professional.
ABOUT LANE BROTHERS BOXING
New York City Based “Lane Brothers Boxing” was founded in 2019 by brothers Terry and Tommy Lane. The Lane brothers have worked in professional boxing for nearly fifteen years, and are now using their industry expertise to advise top international boxing talent. Terry and Tommy are the sons of former referee Mills Lane.
Earlier today it was confirmed that the planned bout between WBC and IBF Light Heavyweight champion Arthur Beterbiev (15-0, 15) and Chinese challenger Fanlong Meng (16-0, 10) [孟繁龙] is not going to be taking place in September.
The bout has sadly fallen through due to visa issues relating to the Chinese fighter, who would struggle to get into Russia for the bout, and struggle to get out of Russia following the contest.
As a result of Meng's inability to take the fight in September he will be forced to wait, likely until 2021, with Beterbiev instead facing former Meng foe Adam Deines (19-1-1, 10) on September 25th in Russia.
This is a huge shame for Meng, who has already seen his shot being pushed back from the Spring. He is expected to remain the mandatory challenger, though it's not totally clear when he'll be able to get a shot at the destructive Russian.
Given that Meng is in a waiting period we would expect him to have at least one tick over fight to stop ring rust, and hopefully that will come before the end of the year as he's been out of the ring since October last year.
The WBC Convention is rather notable event for a lot of reasons including the clarity the WBC give in regards to their world title situations. Here we're going to take a look at this situations directly affect Asian fighters, as per the clarity given by the WBC...or not as the case may be in some divisions.
The highest division mentioned is the Light Heavyweight situation, where we'll see WBC and IBF champion Arthur Beterbiev (15-0, 15) defending against China's Fanlong Meng (16-0, 10) [孟繁龙] in September, in an IBF mandatory. The winner of that will then have Jean Pascal (35-6-1-1, 20) as their WBC mandatory challenger.
The next highest is way down at Featherweight, where we now know that the scheduled bout between Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-1, 9) [Нямбаярын Тогсцогт] and Eduardo Ramirez (23-2-3, 10) has become a final eliminator, with the winner then becoming the mandatory challenger. This would mean that if the Mongolian wins he could end with a second shot at WBC Featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr (31-1, 18), who beat him earlier this year.
At Bantamweight Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) is the mandatory challenger for WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12), with their bout currently scheduled for a December date. Following that bout it's unclear what the situation is in regards to eliminators.
At Super Flyweight Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (48-5-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] is the mandatory challenger for Juan Francisco Estrada (40-3, 27), though it's unclear on when that bout will be possible given travel restrictions and Estrada's next bout is a voluntary defense regardless. We suspect we won't see this trilogy come to an end until 2021 at earliest.
Current WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗] has no mandatory set at the moment, and the WBC will announce a world title eliminator in the near future. The division is seemingly one of the ones that will be most affected by travel restrictions given that many of the top contenders currently aren't able to travel to Japan, and that's an issue not just affect Kenshiro and the WBC title but the division at large and this could mean Kenshiro defends his title against a domestic opponent later in the year.
Long reigning WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (54-0, 18) [วันเฮง มีนะโยธิน] is able to have a voluntary defense next, with the WBC hinting that could be in September, before an eliminator will be held to decide the next mandatory challenger. As with Light Flyweight this is a division that could be massively hampered by the global situation,
Although the convention has certainly helped with some clarity as you can tell there is still a lot that is unclear, especially in the lower weight classes.
Earlier today Dan Rafael, writing for RingTV, broke the news that Top Rank are planning to have 9 shows over an 8 week period running from mid-August to mid-October.
Those dates will include some shows in the US and some over-seas, with two of those shows set to see Asian fighters getting their mandatory shots at world titles.
One of those bouts is the Light Heavyweight world title fight between Russian Arthur Beterbiev (15-0, 15) and China's Fanlong Meng (16-0, 10) [孟繁龙]. Last month this bout was being eyed for a September 25th date in Ekaterinburg, Russia and today it seems that date, barring any changes to the global situation, has been locked in. The bout was previously set to take place in March in Canada before issues relating to the on-going global crisis forced those plans to be cancelled.
The bout is a mandatory defense of the IBF Light Heavyweight title by Beterbiev, who also holds the WBC title. Meng on the other hand will be getting his first shot at a world title.
Just a day later, September 26th, we could end up seeing the Light Welterweight title bout between Scotland's Josh Taylor (16-0, 12) and Downua Ruawaiking (16-0, 13) [ดาวเหนือ เรือไวกิ้ง], aka Apinun Khongsong. This will see Taylor defending the IBF and WBA Light Welterweight world titles against his IBF mandatory challenger, and is expected to come in the UK, though a city wasn't named.
As with the Beterbiev Vs Meng bout this one is another bout that has had to be re-arranged. It was originally set for May 2nd in Glasgow, before sport in the UK was put on hiatus.
Of course we caveat all the above with the typical "details subject to change", and given the current global situation things really can change very quickly.
Notably there was nothing mentioned in regards to the next bout of WBA and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], who was supposed to fight WBO champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20) back in April.
A total list of the planned bouts can be found here thanks to Dan Rafael.
It seems hard to believe just how long this year feels. Way back in January Longjoy sports failed to make the second deposit on their winning purse bid for the IBF Light Heavyweight title fight between Arthur Beterbiev (15-0, 15) and Fanlong Meng (16-0, 10) [孟繁龙].
Since then a lot has happened, both globally and in regards to the bout.
The original plan had been to host the bout in China, then China became Canada, then the world was pretty much put on lock down and bouts were cancelled and postponed all over the globe.
It now seems a new date and venue has been found for the bout, which is now reportedly set to take place in Russia on September 25th.
Dan Rafael, writing for Boxingscene, has reported the bout is now planned to be held at the Ekaterinburg Expo, with ESPN to air it in the US, which was a key part of the deal.
The reason to move the fight to Russia is that a promoter is willing to put up the money for the bout.
What needs to be noted, as with all sport right now, is that the bout isn't signed, sealed and delivered. We dare say that until both men are in the ring, no bout should be considered a done deal.
There is obviously an on going situation that has caused bouts to be cancelled and there's a chance that the same issue could arise here, with either of the fighters testing positive or with Russia changing it's conditions on entry and sporting events. At the moment however the bout seems to be all but sorted in principle, and we need to hope that the current global situation doesn't worsen in Russia, and doesn't effect the preparation for either of the fighters.
For those wanting to read Dan Rafael's article that can be read here.
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