Meng’s a cut above in blood-’n’-thun­der de­fense

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 11 Sports - By MUR­RAY GREIG mur­ray­[email protected]­nadaily.

Meng Fan­long lived up to his “Cold Blood” nick­name at the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco on Sat­ur­day night.

The 30-year-old light heavy­weight from In­ner Mon­go­lia, who rep­re­sented China at the 2012 Lon­don Olympics, ad­min­is­tered a bloody beat­ing to Frank Buglioni, re­tain­ing the In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion’s in­tercon­ti­nen­tal cham­pi­onship by stop­ping the English­man on cuts in the fifth round.

Meng, who im­proved to 14-0 with 9 KOs, was com­ing off a TKO win over Chris Ep­p­ley in July in what was his first bout of 2018. He fought three times in 2017 and four times in 2016.

Sat­ur­day’s bout opened with Buglioni (22-4-1) press­ing the ac­tion while south­paw Meng was com­fort­able coun­ter­ing off his back foot.

In the fourth round, Meng started to load up and scored heav­ily on the in­side, slic­ing a deep cut on Buglioni’s nose.

Meng con­tin­ued to land his right jab with deadly ac­cu­racy in the fifth, sit­ting down on his punches and forc­ing Buglioni to try to counter while back­ing up.

Mid­way through the round, the shorter English­man was on the re­ceiv­ing end of a vi­cious left hook that ripped a huge gash over his right eye.

The bout was tem­po­rar­ily halted to al­low the ring­side doc­tor to as­sess the dam­age, but when the ac­tion re­sumed, Meng pounced like a pan­ther, slam­ming a half-dozen unan­swered punches into Buglioni’s cuts be­fore the ref­eree waved it off.

“This was a great op­por­tu­nity and I am very pleased with the re­sult,” Meng said af­ter­wards.

“My train­ing camp went great, and I have the high­est re­spect for Buglioni. I wanted to put on a good show be­cause box­ers prove them­selves in the ring. I hope every­body will re­mem­ber my name after what I ac­com­plished here.”

Mean­while, un­beaten Chi­nese heavy­weight Zhang Zhilei was forced to pull out of the semi-main event in Monaco after sus­tain­ing a train­ing in­jury.

The 6-foot-6, 260-pound south­paw from Zhoukou, He­nan prov­ince, was sched­uled to de­fend his WBO Ori­en­tal ti­tle against 6-foot-8, 275-pound Alexan­der Usti­nov of Rus­sia, who in­stead lost to Michael Hunter (16-1) of the US.

Meng Fan­long, China’s IBF in­tercon­ti­nen­tal cham­pion

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