All participants did their job at the scale for the 2021 Boxeo Telemundo season finale.
Victor Betancourt Jr. and Miguel Marrero are set for their ten-round regional lightweight title fight Friday evening at Silver Spurs Arena at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida. Mexicali’s Betancourt weighed 134 pounds, while Marrero—a native of Manati, Puerto Rico—weighed in right at the 135-pound divisional limit for his first career fight in a U.S. state.
Both fighters make their platform debut in Friday’s headlining act, playing to the series-long tradition of Mexico versus Puerto Rico in key stateside main events.
Betancourt (27-3, 14KOs) is 3-1 outside of his native Mexico, the lone defeat coming in a first-round knockout at the hands of Jaime Arboleda in August 2019. The fight took place at junior lightweight, having since moved up two divisions for a confidence restoring third-round knockout win this past July before dropping down to lightweight for his latest ring adventure.
Marrero (9-1-2, 4KOs) fights for the first time in more than two years, his last appearance coming in a six-round points win in September 2019. All but one career fight has taken place in Puerto Rico, the lone exception coming in an April 2018 stay-busy fight in Dominican Republic.
Also making his way to the ring for the first time since 2019 is light heavyweight contender Meng Fanlong. The 6’2” southpaw from Chifeng, China aims to punch his way back into contention as he returns in a scheduled ten-round clash versus Israel Duffus (20-6, 17KOs), a Panamanian puncher based out of Los Angeles.
Fanlong (16-0, 10KOs) weighed just under the divisional limit at 174 ½ pounds, while Duffus came in right at the 175-pound mark.
The fight is a far cry from the opportunity Fanlong expected for more than two years, having served as the IBF mandatory challenger to reigning light heavyweight king Artur Beterbiev. Covid restrictions and visa issues forced the unbeaten contender to withdraw from an oft-rescheduled title shot due to an inability to make his way home had he made the trip to Ekaterinburg, Russia where the fight was due to take place.
Beterbiev went on to face and defeat Adam Deines, who Fanlong beat via decision in June 2019 to become the mandatory challenger. Fanlong has not fought since a second-round knockout of Gilberto Rubio in October 2019 in New Jersey where he has regularly trained while stateside.
Duffus fights for the first time since March 2020, though the occasion marked his biges win to date. The fringe contender rebounded from back-to-back defeats to earn a fifth-round knockout of Samuel Clarkson on the road in Irving, Texas.
In additional action:
Miami-based Cuban prospect Gianny Garcia (3-0, 3KOs) and Savion Morales (3-0, 3KOs) both weighed 118 pounds for their six-round battle of undefeated bantamweights;
Venezuela’s Luis Cabrera (1-0, 0KOs) fights for the second time on OHP grounds in as many pro fights, as he faces Ponce, Puerto Rico’s Eduardo Melendez (5-30, 1KO). Both boxers weighed 134 pounds for their scheduled four-round lightweight affair.
Betancourt-Marrero airs live Friday evening on Telemundo beginning 12:00 a.m. ET. The airing of the remaining bouts will be subject to time availability and coming via same-day tape delay.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox