by Rick Reeno
Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events, advised BoxingScene.com that she was informed by the International Boxing Federation that light heavyweight contender Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1, 19KOs) will remain as the mandatory challenger to champion Bernard Hopkins (53-6-2, 32KOs).
Earlier today, BoxingScene broke the news that Karo Murat (25-1-1, 15KOs) had obtained his visa and his promoter , Sauerland Event, submitted an application to reinstate him as the mandatory challenger to Hopkins.
Hopkins was scheduled to fight Murat on July 13th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but last week the fight was canceled because Murat was unable to obtain a visa to gain entry to the United States. Earlier this week, the IBF sent out a notification that Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1, 19KOs) was the new mandatory challenger to Hopkins.
However, Duva does confirm that negotiations are ongoing with promoter Frank Warren, who handles WBO champion Nathan Cleverly (26-0-, 12KOs). If Duva and Warren are able to reach an agreement, then Cleverly would defend his title against Kovalev in an HBO televised main fight on August 17th from the UK. And if Kovalev goes in that direction, then Murat would likely reclaim the mandatory position to Hopkins. Warren indicates that a deal for Cleverly-Kovalev is very close.
Hopkins told BoxingScene that unless someone like WBC champion Adonis Stevenson comes around, he would move forward with a mandatory defense of his title against the designated challenger - Kovalev, Murat or otherwise .