Unified light heavyweight champ Artur Beterbiev will not, in fact, have to choose between his IBF title and his convictions.
Beterbiev faced a dilemma late last month when Rejoy Group, working with Roc Nation, unexpectedly won the purse bid for his mandatory bout with Meng Fanlong with a $1.9 million bid and revealed their intention to stage the bout in China. The Dagestani Muslim had previously refused to fight in that country, setting up the but he’s received a break; TVA Sports reports that Rejoy has failed to make their initial deposit, giving Top Rank control of the bout with their second-place bid. Bob Arum and co. intend to stage the bout on March 28th in either Moscow or Quebec.
If things go as planned, it will be Beterbiev’s (15-0, 15 KO) first time fighting outside of the States since his 2016 knockout of Isidro Prieto. He has actually never competed professionally in Russia, instead exclusively plying his craft in North America. Meng (16-0, 10 KO), by contrast, has fought all over, so unfamiliar territory shouldn’t be an issue for him.