Professional boxing in China has not been a topic that has popped up on many pundits' minds on the western side of the world, but that has slowly started to change in recent years.
One such fighter that is leading the way for pro boxers succeeding on the pro stage is Meng Fanlong, an unbeaten light heavyweight contender who is on the verge of fighting for a world title with one more win on June 1. Fanlong spoke to Fightful to discuss a number of topics, including the growth of professional boxing in China.
China has already seen the rise of several notable boxers on the international stage in recent years. Aside from Fanlong defeating Frank Buglioni in Monaco late last year, other Chinese boxers such as Can Xu, Zou Shiming and Xiong Chaozhong have gone on to win titles. According to Fanlong, the growing interest and popularity of the sport in his native country is good for boxing overall.
“A few of us have become champions and some of us are already on our way to becoming a champion. This is a great sign for the sport of boxing in China. You can see that a lot of people are starting to follow the sport in China. In the fanbase and in the government, they are following the sport of boxing. These boxers becoming great are a good thing for the sport of boxing [in China]. It is getting huge,” Fanlong said.
Although Fanlong's amateur days were spent in China as he ended up winning a number of national titles and even competed in the 2012 Olympics, his pro days are mostly spent in the United States. Speaking on the comparisons of training and living in the United States and China, Fanlong said being in the United States has allowed him to focus solely on training as he prepares for an IBF light heavyweight title eliminator against Adam Deines.
“The food is different, the culture is different and the background is different but these past few years have given me a great opportunity to get used to the life here. The thing about training in the United States compared to training in China is that I am more focused in training, just training. My life is all about training, get home and rest, then train again. Training in America made me focus more,” Fanlong said.
Fanlong vs. Deines will take place in Macau, China on June 1 as part of a special boxing card taking place during the annual IBF convention. The full interview with Fanlong can be seen at the top of the page.