By Rick Reeno
BoxingScene.com has confirmed with Chris Meyer, General Manager of Sauerland Event, that light heavyweight contender Karo Murat has obtained a non-immigrant working visa for the United States.
Murat was scheduled to face IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins in a Showtime televised main event on July 13th in a mandatory fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
However, Murat was unable to obtain a visa. Murat filed an appeal to obtain a visa and it was believed that several months would be involved to get his visa. As a result, Golden Boy Promotions was forced to cancel the July event.
After the event was canceled, the IBF designated Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1, 19KOs) as the new mandatory challenger to Hopkins (53-6-2, 32KOs).
Meyer has already informed the IBF that Murat (25-1-1, 15KOs) has obtained his visa and submitted an application to reinstate him as the mandatory challenger to Hopkins.
Additionally, Kovalev's promoter, Main Events, is close to finalizing an agreement for their boxer to face WBO champion Nathan Cleverly (26-0-, 12KOs) in an HBO televised main fight on August 17th from the UK.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has also been informed of the situation.
"I was informed that Murat got his visa. Chris sent an email to the IBF for Murat to be reinstated as the mandatory, so we have to wait and see what's going to happen. I was on the phone with [Cleverly's promoter] Frank Warren this morning and Frank indicated to me that HBO is pushing hard for the fight with Kovalev and Cleverly, and supposedly Kovalev has agreed to the fight. If that's the case, then obviously Kovalev would not be available to fight Bernard and that would further support that Murat would be reinstated as the mandatory for Bernard," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.