IBF to keep Kovalev as Hopkins mandatory despite Murat visa success

The International Boxing Federation have exclusively told WBN that Karo Murat will not be reinstated as the mandatory challenger to Bernard Hopkins after the German successfully lobbied for a US visa today.

The 29 year-old was due to face Hopkins, 48, for the IBF light-heavyweight title on July 13, although the whole event was scrapped by promoters Golden Boy after Murat ran into what were thought to be impossible visa complications. 

Murat’s promoters Sauerland then informed WBN that they had obtained a non-immigrant working visa for the former European champion, which they hoped would see the IBF reverse their decision to award the mandatory spot to Sergey Kovalev.

Kovalev, 30, had arranged a possible clash with Nathan Cleverly before the IBF made that decision and as Murat was cleared by US customs, was thought to be a strong favourite to accept the contest with the Welshman in Cardiff.

Now that the IBF have decided to keep the big-hitting Russian as the next challenger to Hopkins, Murat will be posted at number two and faces a further wait to claim his rightful world title chance. 

It now rests with Kovalev to decide which world title he will fight for after yet another twist in the saga.