Former light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev may return to the ring for the first time in more than two years. ESPN‘s Mike Coppinger reports that Kovalev is closing in on a deal to fight light heavyweight contender Meng Fanlong at a catchweight of 185 pounds. Triller will reportedly take the lead on the fight as it is scheduled for March 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Kovalev has not fought since November 2019. Despite leading the way for much of the fight, Kovalev was knocked out in the 11th round by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Since then, the Russian fighter has attempted to return to the ring several times. He was set to fight Sullivan Barrera in April, but the fight was canceled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Months later, he was set to fight Bektemir Melikuziev, but the fight was canceled after the former champion tested positive for synthetic testosterone.
Fanlong has also had a tough time getting in the ring during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was scheduled to fight unified champion Artur Beterbiev in March 2020, but the fight was called off due to the virus. Now, he’ll have a shot to breakthrough and get to the world stage with a win against Kovalev.