Sergey Kovalev and Meng Fanlong near deal for Triller Fight Club Main Event on March 12
Sergey Kovalev’s cruiserweight debut is almost set.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that representatives for Kovalev and Meng Fanlong have almost reached an agreement to fight on March 12 at an undetermined location. Triller Fight Club will feature the Kovalev-Fanlong fight as the main event.
Russian Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KO), a former light heavyweight champion, and Chinese Fanlong (17-0, 10 KO), a light heavyweight contender, have agreed to meet at a weight of 185 pounds. Boxing’s cruising weight limit is 200 pounds.
ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger first reported the news of the Kovalev-Fanlong fight on Twitter.
Kovalev hasn’t fought since Canelo Alvarez knocked him out in the 11th round of their WBO light heavyweight title fight in November 2019 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Alvarez-Kovalev fight was highly competitive before Alvarez’ vicious knockout, but Kovalev’s career has stalled since earning $12 million for fighting the Mexican superstar.
The 38-year-old former champion was supposed to face then-undefeated Bektemir Melikuziev (8-1, 6 KOs) from Uzbekistan on January 30 in a DAZN main event. Kovalev was pulled from this fight because he tested positive for synthetic testosterone, a banned substance.
Kovalev’s withdrawal from that fight sparked a contract dispute with Golden Boy Promotions, which owed Kovalev at least one fight after his loss to Alvarez as part of Oscar De La Hoya’s company’s distribution deal with DAZN. . An arbitrator could rule on the Golden Boy-Kovalev issue next month.
Fanlong, 33, meanwhile has been trying to land a high profile fight since the COVID-19 pandemic cost the 2012 Olympian a shot against undefeated IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev. The Beterbiev-Fanlong fight was scheduled for March 2020 at the Videotron Center in Quebec, Canada.
Fanlong was the IBF mandatory challenger for Beterbiev’s belt. Pandemic restrictions have banned the southpaw from traveling to Russia for his rescheduled bout.
Germany’s Adam Deines, who lost a 12-round IBF playoff match to Fanlong by unanimous decision in June 2019, replaced him as Beterbiev’s mandatory challenger. Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KO) stopped Deines (20-2-1, 11 KO) in the 10th round on March 20 at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow.
Keith Idec is senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be contacted on Twitter @Idecboxing.