Artur Beterbiev's first fight as the unified WBC and IBF light heavyweight champion is set.
Top Rank has officially announced that Beterbiev will face off against Meng Fanlong on March 28. The fight will headline an ESPN-televised card from the Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada.
Back in October 2019, Beterbiev became the first unified champion at 175 pounds since Andre Ward held the WBA, WBO and IBF titles back in 2017. In the main event of a Top Rank card televised on ESPN, Beterbiev defeated Oleksandr Gvozdyk in the 10th round to add the WBC title to his collection.
Beterbiev remains the only world champion today to have every single fight by knockout, winning all 15 of his pro bouts inside the distance. Beterbiev has been a world champion since November 2017 when he knocked out Enrico Koelling. Since then, Beterbiev has successfully defended the IBF title three times, with wins over Gvozdyk, Callum Johnson and Radivoje Kalajdzic.
“Artur Beterbiev is uniquely motivated to put on a show for his Canadian fans, as he returns to Canada as a unified world champion,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said in a press release. “Like Artur, Meng was a tremendous amateur. He’s fought around the world and will not be intimidated as a challenger in foreign territory.”
Fanlong is looking to join a handful of Chinese-born boxers to become a champion and the first to do so as a light heavyweight. Fanlong became the mandatory challenger to the IBF light heavyweight title when he defeated Adam Deines in a title eliminator back in 2019. The 32-year-old Fanlong, who owns a victory over former super middleweight title challenger Frank Buglioni, is coming off a second-round stoppage win over Gilberto Rubio last November.