Meng Fanlong is now one step closer to challenging for the IBF light heavyweight title after winning a title eliminator in Macau, China.
During the annual IBF convention, a special boxing card held there saw the unbeaten Fanlong defeat Adam Deines by unanimous decision. Fanlong won the bout with scores of 116-110, 115-111 and 117-109.
Fanlong outboxed Deines throughout the fight, but got in trouble during the middle rounds when a left hand from Deines dropped Fanlong in the eighth round. Fanlong managed to recover from the knockdown and Deines failed to capitalize on the brief period of momentum. Deines also struggled to gain any traction on the judges’ scorecards after also being docked a point for hitting on the break in the final round.
The win puts Fanlong in position to eventually challenge for Artur Beterbiev’s world title down the line. Fanlong, who competed in the 2012 Olympics, improved his pro record to 15-0 and will wait for a potential fight against Beterbiev. Before the fight, Fanlong spoke with Fightful and said he won’t force a fight against Beterbiev to be made as soon as possible, but said he would be more than ready to fight him any time and any place. The full interview can be seen at the top of the page.
Beterbiev has held the IBF title since 2017, but has only made two title defenses. The first one took place in Chicago last October when he defeated Callum Johnson and his most recent defense took was a fifth-round knockout win against Radivoje Kalajdzic on May 4. Beterbiev is the only active world champion in boxing to have every pro fight end with him winning by knockout.