Murat's visa issues resolved, fight with Hopkins Oct. 26
Atlantic City, NJ (Sports Network) - The next fight for IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins is finally set.
The 48-year-old Hopkins will take on No. 1 contender Karo Murat, Oct. 26, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
The fight was originally set for July 13 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but was postponed because Murat, a native of Germany, couldn't receive a visa by the United States Department of Homeland Security.
"I'm happy this fight is back on," said Hopkins. "Karo Murat is my mandatory and he is coming here to take down this 48-year-old champion, except he's coming three months late. He gave me extra time to spend time with my family, stay in the gym longer to get ready for this fight. I'm going to be so physically and mentally prepared come October 26, Murat will know he is facing a great champion regardless of my age. I feel like a fighter in my 20s not my 40s."
When he does fight next, Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KO) will become the oldest fighter in history to make his initial title defense. He defeated Travis Cloud at Barclays Center back in March to win the belt.
Hopkins is the longest reigning middleweight champion in boxing history, and since reinventing himself as a light heavyweight following his 40th birthday, he has captured three world titles.
The 29-year-old Murat (25-1-1, 15 KO) has won several regional titles since becoming a pro in 2006. It's been nearly three years since his only loss, which occurred against Nathan Cleverly in 2010.
"This fight has been a long time coming," said Murat. "I had some issues with my visa but those are finally solved. I felt ready in July and in October, I will feel even more ready. I've been awaiting the chance to fight for the IBF title since late 2011 so three months extra is nothing to me. Bernard Hopkins is 48 years of age - I guess he has enjoyed the summer. Will he be ready for me? I do not know. What I can say is that I will be at my best on October 26. When I am messing up his old bones it will make me a star in an instant."