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.
Earlier today we were informed that unbeaten Kazakh fighter Aidos Yerbossynuly (13-0, 9) [Айдос Ербосынулы] has been pencilled in to be in action on March 28th in Quebec, Canada, where he will face 35 year old local Tim Cronin (12-4-2, 3).
The bout, which has been added to a solid card headlined by Arthur Beterbiev (15-0, 15) defending against Fanlong Meng (16-0, 10) [孟繁龙], will be Yerbossynuly's first in Canada as he continues to quietly build a name for himself without too much fanfare.
The talented Kazakh is already ranked in the top 15 by both the WBA and WBO, and looks to be moving towards a world title fight. Aligning with the powerful Top Rank at this point in time seems an excellent move from Yerbossynuly and promoter Suleimen Promotions, especially given that Yerbossynuly could end up with a world title fight in the next 12-18 months.
The 35 year old Cronin has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, but has only been stopped once in his career, being taken out in 8 rounds by Robert Parzeczewski almost 2 years ago. His lack of power is clear, but he's tough and durable and should test Yerbossynuly. As for the Kazakh he's a talent, but has been dropped a couple of times early in his career. He's talented, but at the moment there is a sense of vulnerability hanging over his chin, and an opponent like Cronin isn't expected to really test that Kazakh's chop's.
It's worth noting that Yerbossynuly will join fellow unbeaten Kazakh Janibek Alimkhanuly (8-0, 4) [Жанибек Алимханулы] on the show, with Alimkhanuly taking on unbeaten Ghanaian boxer Issah Samir (18-0, 15) in a very solid looking match up.
Earlier today Vesti reported that unbeaten Kazakh Middleweight hopeful Janibek Alimkhanuly (8-0, 4) [Жанибек Алимханулы] has been added to the March 28th card in Quebec, which will be headlined by IBF and WBC Light Heavyweight champion Arthur Beterbiev (15-0, 15) defending against Fanlong Meng (16-0, 10) [孟繁龙] of China.
Not only has the talented Kazakh been added to that card but Vesti also reported the name of his opponent. That will be unbeaten American D'Mitrius Ballard (20-0-1-1-1, 13).
The 26 year old Ballard, dubbed "Big Meech" is a 23 fight professional veteran who debuted way back in 2013. He would win his first 20 in a row, ignoring 2 a No Contest and a No Decision. With the most notable of his wins coming against former Ryota Murata opponent Ricardo Adrian Luna Flores. His winning run was however marker up last year, not only with a No Decision in June but also a majority draw in December, when he faced former Olympic bronze medal winner Yamaguchi Falcao.
On paper this is a huge step up in class fir Alimkhanuly, who has been calling for a big fight through the last 12 months. Whilst it's not the world title fight he seemed to wants, it is a good step in that direction and comes on a big card, with a very high profile main event. It's a move to head towards something bigger and a win over Ballard would be a big statement this early in his career.
Obviously, however, this not a given win for Alimkhanuly and he will certainly have to earn it, in what is looking like a really, really good challenger for the 26 year old Kazakh southpaw.
(Image courtesy of Top Rank)
Press release - MENG FANLONG EARNS TITLE SHOT VS. BETERBIEV - LOOKS TO BRING HAPPINESS TO HOMELAND AT DIFFICULT TIME
February 17th, NYC -- China’s Meng Fanlong (16-0, 10 KOs) will fight IBF & WBC light heavyweight champion, Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs), March 28th at the Videotron Center in Quebec City, Canada. Beterbiev vs. Meng is presented by Top Rank in association with Groupe Yvon Michel and Gestev, and will be broadcast live on ESPN along with a co-feature bout at 10 PM ET.
Fanlong, who is from Chifeng, Inner Mongolia China, has more than just his world title shot on his mind. His home country has been essentially shut down due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak.
“The majority of my country has been shut down for weeks.” Says Meng. “My fellow citizens need something to help them escape from this very difficult time. I hope to bring some positivity, happiness, and joy to them with this fight. I want to put pride in their hearts.”
On the 28th of March, Meng will be stepping into the ring with one of boxing’s most dangerous punchers. Champion Artur Beterbiev has won all of his professional fights by knockout - including his thrilling title unification bout against Oleksandr Gvozdyck in October. Meng was in attendance that night in Philadelphia and observed with great interest.
But facing one of boxing’s most dangerous fighters in the ring pales in comparison to the concerns and troubles that are affecting hundreds of millions of Chinese across the globe.
“Fanlong is the best Chinese fighter in the world - everyone will learn that on March 28th.” Says Meng advisor Tommy Lane. “This is a historic fight because he is the first Chinese boxer to fight for the light heavyweight championship. And with what is going on with coronavirus, this is a fight that can bring joy and positive energy to the people at this challenging time.”
It is unknown when the coronavirus will be under control or when the citizens of the The People’s Republic of China can get back to normal life.
“My country needs me. We will get through this.”
Tickets for Beterbiev vs. Meng can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.ca or the Videotron Center box office Meng. More event details will be announced at a later time. For interview requests and media opportunities, please contact Terry Lane - email@example.com.
#BeterbievMeng - official hashtag
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 the number one ranked light heavyweight contender.
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.
It's been a funny old couple of weeks in regards to the IBF Light Heavyweight title. Back in late December the team behind Fanlong Meng (16-0, 10) [孟繁龙] won the purse bids for Meng's upcoming mandatory title bout with IBF and WBC champion Arthur Beterbiev (15-0, 15). The plan of Longjoy was to stage the bout in China, and pay $1,900,000 for the rights to hold the fight
Earlier in the year Beterbiev had made it clear he wouldn't be fighting in China, due to the reported ethnic cleansing and treatment of Uyghur Muslims. It seemed that if Longjoy could prove they had the capital, Beterbiev would likely end up vacating the title.
Yesterday however news broke, through Mathieu Boulay, that Longjoy had failed to meet the terms of the purse bid.
The rules for the IBF purse bid process sees a promoter needing to deposit 10% of their bid on the day of the purse bid, and then another 10% to be deposited 5 working days after the purse bid. Longjoy failed to fulfil the second part of that.
Following their rules the IBF then gave the bout to the second highest bidder, who were Top Rank with a bid of $1,315,000, who indicated their intention is now to hold the bout in Canada, with Quebec seeming the most likely, in late March. The change in venue will mean Beterbiev will not need to vacate the title on the grounds of his principles and beliefs.
Whilst it is a shame, in some ways, for a fight of this stature to not take place in China the whole situation has thankfully been sorted in a way that makes sense. It would be harsh to strip someone for the principles that Beterbiev has shown, especially in a sport that right now appears to have totally compromised it's principles.
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