China’s Meng Fanlong won a shot at the IBF light heavyweight title on June 1 when he beat Adam Deines in Macao, coming off the canvas in the eighth round to secure a decision victory over the 12-round distance.
An immediate title shot wasn’t in the works for Fanlong (16-0, 10 KO), but the 31-year-old southpaw is going to have his eyes firmly on the Oct. 18 fight between Artur Beterbiev and Oleksandr Gvozdyk, with designs on facing the winner in early 2020.
“I’m excited for my world title fight against the winner of Beterbiev-Gvozdyk,” said Fanlong. “I’ll be the first ‘bigger’ boxer from China, above featherweight, to get a world title shot. This already made history, but I want more than this. I want to bring that belt to my country where billions of people will be talking about it for generations.”
Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KO) holds the IBF title currently, and Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KO) the WBC belt. It’s arguably the best fight on the current schedule in all of boxing, and whomever Fanlong were to face, it would be a major step up in competition for him. Fanlong stayed busy on Friday, beating a Mexican club fighter named Gilberto Rubio at a show in Hockessin, Delaware.
“Fanlong has worked really hard and earned his right to fight for the World title,” said Roc Nation promoter Dino Duva. “I remember him telling me 10 years ago when he was a member of the China national team that it was his dream, and I promised to deliver it for him. Sometime in early 2020, he will fight for the world championship. That dream will come true, and history will be made when he wins.”