Unified WBC and IBF light heavyweight titleholder Artur Beterbiev is still set to return on Sept. 25 in Russia, but has a new opponent.
Mandatory challenger Meng Fanlong is out due to visa issues, so Adam Deines will step in as Beterbiev’s challenger in the fight. Mark Kriegel first mentioned this on ESPN’s Saturday boxing broadcast, and Top Rank have confirmed to ESPN.com.
Deines (19-1-1, 10 KO) is a 29-year-old German fighter who actually lost to Fanlong in a 2019 IBF eliminator, dropping a 12-round decision in Macau. In all candor he’s not a particularly good challenger, but options are pretty limited in These Trying Times. He’s won his last two fights, both over really limited opposition, but he did score something of an upset over former German Olympian Stefan Haertel in 2018.
As for Fanlong, his team expect he’ll still be mandatory challenger, which the IBF has yet to officially decide on at last report.