WBC/IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev will now defend both of his titles against Adam Deines on Sept. 25 in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Top Rank officials confirmed on Monday.
Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs), who was born in Russia but lives in Germany, steps in for original opponent Meng Fanlong, who is experiencing issues with his visa and won’t be able to take the fight. The 29-year-old Deines’ lone loss actually came at the hands of Fanlong in June 2019. According to Carl Moretti, the vice president of boxing operation for Top Rank, Fanlong “can get into Russia but he can’t go back to the United States, or into China. So he’d be stuck in Russia.” Fanlong’s advisors, Terry and Tommy Lane, tell ESPN that their boxer has been in the States since December.
The fight between Beterbiev and Fanlong was originally scheduled for March 28 in Montreal. Currently, Fanlong (16-0, 10 KOs) is in Bloomfield, New Jersey. “We want the Beterbiev fight,” stated Tommy. “He wants it, the team wants it, we just can’t make it happen right now because it’s in Russia.”
Fanlong, who represented China in the 2012 Olympics, is rated No. 1 by the IBF.
“We’re being told by the IBF that our ranking and our mandatory status will not change, and we should be next in line,” said Terry. “But they have not given us official word.”
“We’re going to talk about that tomorrow,” said Anibal Miramontes, the Chairman of the IBF ratings committee on Monday morning, “which opponent we’ll approve, and if that opponent will be the mandatory, or not.”
The hard-hitting Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) has not fought since he stopped Oleksandr Gvozdyk in 10 rounds in Oct. 18 in Philadelphia to unify both of the light heavyweight belts he currently holds.