Artur Beterbiev To Face Adam Deines
IBF/WBC World Light Heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) was on schedule to defend his titles against IBF mandatory challenger Meng Fanlong (16-0, 10 KOs) on September 25 in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The date the unified 175-pound world champ will defend his titles on the remains the same. However, in his triumphant return to his home country, it’s not going to be against Fanlong. Instead, the 35-year-old will defend the belts against Adam Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs).
Carl Moretti, Vice President of boxing operation for Top Rank promotions explained the reasons for Fanlong being scratched during an interview with ESPN.
“Fanlong can get into Russia but he can’t go back to the United States, or into China. So he’d be stuck in Russia.”
NO PATHWAY OUT
For those who may be confused, here’s the issue surrounding the 32-year-old from Chifeng, China. He was originally scheduled to face the champ on March 28 in Quebec City, Canada. On that account, he has been in the United States since December 2019. However, that bout was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Team Beterbiev rescheduled his upcoming mandatory title defense. However, due to the new locale, it has now presented a whole different set of issues. Fanlong could technically go to Russia and fight. Although, because of VISA and COVID-19 restrictions, he would not be able to come back to either China where his family lives (including his wife and child), or to the United States where he trains, as a result.
The irony of Deines (ranked #6 by the IBF at 175-pounds) becoming the substitute opponent is that his lone defeat as a professional came against Fanlong in June 2019 in an IBF World Title eliminator.
Terry and Tommy Lane, who advise the Chinese fighter, told ESPN they have been informed their fighter’s status as number one will not be changed and he would fight the winner.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.