In light of the recent news that there will be a light heavyweight world title unification fight between Ukraine’s Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KOs) and Russia’s Artur Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KOs) in October, Roc Nation Sports boxer Meng Fanlong (15-0, 9 KOs) is looking forward to a timely fight versus the winner of that bout as Fanlong became the #1 mandatory challenger for the title when he beat Adam Deines (17-1, 8 KOs) on June 1.
“I respect Beterbiev’s choice,” said Fanlong. “I would have done the same if I was him. The best deserves to fight the best in this sport. My dream has always been to challenge the world title, but the rule allows the unification fight to take place first in this case. I’m still looking to fight the winner of the unification bout to fulfill my mandatory obligation. I expect a timely bout after the unification takes place and I’m excited for it.”
On June 1, Fanlong beat Adam Deines of Germany via unanimous decision in the IBF Light Heavyweight World Title Mandatory Eliminator in Macau, China. This win made Fanlong the mandatory contender to fight IBF World Champion Artur Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KOs) for the IBF World Light Heavyweight Title. Beterbiev has decided to participate in a unification bout against Gvozdyk to try and unify the IBF and WBC World Light Heavyweight Titles.
When the bout between Fanlong and the winner of the Gvozdyk-Beterbiev occurs, the two titles will be up for grabs. If Fanlong wins his world title match, he will make history by becoming the first Chinese boxer to earn a world light heavyweight belt. Due to the timing of the title unification, the title match for Fanlong will most likely take place in early 2020.
“It’s a little disappointing since we got word of the Beterbiev –Gvozdyk match since Fanlong has worked so hard to earn his title shot,” said Roc Nation Sports boxing promoter Dino Duva. “We had been in IBF ordered negotiations with Top Rank for Beterbiev and they said Beterbiev had no problem fighting Fanlong, but I guess they had an opportunity to make the unification match. Hopefully Gvozdyk feels the same if he wins. We respect the unification concept and rules, but only for this match. One thing I can assure you – we will fight to enforce Meng Fanlong’s rights against the winner. Hopefully, he will have the courage to put both titles on the line against Fanlong, which will make the wait even sweeter.”