As revealed early last month, former light heavyweight champ Jean Pascal will end a 2.5 year layoff on May 20th when he faces unbeaten Meng Fanlong in Plant City, Florida.
It’ll be the inaugural show for ProBox TV, “the first and only global sports streaming and media company dedicated exclusively to the sport of professional boxing.” A one-month subscription will run you $1.99.
The 39-year-old Pascal (35-6-1, 20 KO) hasn’t seen action since edging out Badou Jack in a 2019 nailbiter. He subsequently failed drug tests for several banned substances ahead of a planned rematch, which almost certainly torpedoed his chances at another blockbuster fight in the twilight of his career.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Pascal. “I’m back with a lot to prove and a fire under my ass. This fight with Meng is a great opportunity for me to get right back where I belong, the top of the division. He’s a good fighter. He’s undefeated for a reason, but he’s never been in with anybody like me. After this fight, he and Ahmed Elbiali will have something in common, losses to me in Florida in fights his people should have never made.”
Meng (17-0, 10 KO) was all set to challenge Artur Beterbiev for two light heavyweight titles in early 2020, only to get shafted by the onset of the COVID pandemic. Attempts to rescheduled proved fruitless, leaving Beterbiev to fight Adam Deines while Meng sat on the sidelines until last October.
“I’m so excited to get back in the ring and face former world champion Jean Pascal on May 20,” said Meng. “This fight is so unique for a lot of different reasons. It’s my first time as the main event fighter. It’s the first time I face a former world champion, and it’s the first time we will live stream in China so that 1.5 billion people can support. It’s also my first time fighting on ProBox, my home turf. I’ve been training very hard here in Florida. Camp has been great. I can’t wait to put on a good show.”
In other noteworthy action, former WBA “world” featherweight champion Xu Can (18-3, 3 KO) returns to action for the first time since losing his title to Leigh Wood last year. He meets 24-year-old Brandon Benitez (18-2, 7 KO), who most notably got blown up by Saul Sanchez in a 2019 bantamweight bout.
“I’m excited to return to the ring in this tough fight against Brandon Benitez,” said Can. “Fans know my style. They know that I like to throw lots of punches. So when it’s a fight between me and a Mexican warrior like Benitez, you know it will be a war.”
“I am ready and excited for this opportunity to face a former world champion,” said Benitez. “This is the opportunity I’ve been fighting for all my life. I know it will be a difficult fight where there’ll be a lot of punches thrown, but I will be in great shape to not only throw more than my opponent, but also to win convincingly.”