The IBF ordered its light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins to make his next title defense against the sanctioning organization’s No. 1 contender, Sergey Kovalev, according to a Monday press release from the Russian puncher’s promoter, Main Events.
On Friday, Kovalev scored his ninth consecutive knockout with a third-round demolition of Cornelius White on the NBC Sports Network’s Fight Night series.
“When the IBF issued today’s letter, ordering Hopkins to fight Kovalev next, without granting any exceptions to Hopkins in the interim, everything changed,” promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events, said. “Kovalev has many opportunities, now. We are going to take a few days to evaluate and then decide upon the next move. Of course, Sergey would be thrilled to face Hopkins if Bernard wants the fight.”
Kovalev says he’s ready to fight Hopkins.
“I want to fight Bernard Hopkins because he is a legend of boxing,” Kovalev said after knocking out White. “It was good news that Hopkins and Karo Murat fell out. C’mon and fight. I’m ready. Are you ready?”