The launch of Sergey Kovalev’s cruiser class is almost set.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that representatives of Kovalev and Meng Fanlong have almost finalized a deal for them to fight on March 12 at an unspecified location. Triller Fight Club will host the Kovalev-Fanlong fight as the main event.
Kovalev of Russia (34-4-1, 29 KOs), former light heavyweight champion, and Fanlong (17-0, 10 KOs) of China, a light heavyweight contender, have agreed to meet at 185 pound weights. Boxing’s cruiser weight limit is 200 pounds.
ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger first covered the Kovalev-Fanlong fight on Twitter.
Kovalev hasn’t fought since Canelo Alvarez knocked him out in the 11th round of their WBO lightweight title match in November 2019 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Alvarez-Kovalev matchup was competitive before Alvarez’s dangerous knockout, but Kovalev’s career has stalled since he made a reported $12 million against the Mexican superstar.
The 38-year-old former champion is said to have beaten then-undefeated Uzbekistani Bektemir Melikuziev (8-1, 6 KOs) on January 30 last year in a DAZN main event. Kovalev was dropped from that game because he tested positive for synthetic testosterone, a banned substance.
Kovalev’s disqualification from that match sparked a contract dispute with Golden Boy Promotion, which owed Kovalev at least one fight after he lost to Alvarez as part of Oscar De La Hoya’s distribution contract with DAZN. . An arbitrator could rule on the Golden Boy-Kovalev issue next month.
Meanwhile, 33-year-old Fanlong has been trying to hit a top bout since the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the 2012 Olympic athlete to knock out undefeated IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev. The Battle of Beterbiev-Fanlong is scheduled for March 2020 at the Videotron Center in Quebec City, Canada.
Fanlong is the IBF’s must-competitor for Beterbiev’s belt. Pandemic-related restrictions have banned nampaw from traveling to Russia because of their rescheduled journey.
Germany’s Adam Deines, who lost a 12-round IBF knockout to Fanlong by unanimous decision in June 2019, has replaced him as Beterbiev’s mandatory opponent. Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) stopped Deines (20-2-1, 11 KOs) in the 10th round this past March 20 at Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow.
Keith Idec is a writer/senior columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
https://www.boxingscene.com/sergey-kovalev-meng-fanlong-nearing-deal-triller-fight-club-main-event-march-12–163553 Sergey Kovalev, Meng Fanlong Deals coming for Triller Fight Club March 12 Main Event