Ukrainian light heavyweight Anatoliy Dudchenko will face Nadjib Mohammedi in a June 21 IBF title eliminator bout live on NBC Sports Net's Fight Night from Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Main Events announced on Monday.
A hard-hitting 35-year-old nicknamed "The Gladiator," the 6-foot-3 Dudchenko (19-2, 13 knockouts) has been trained by former heavyweight titleholder Chris Byrd, according to his manager, Vince Caruso.
In a 175-pound co-feature to the Dudchenko-Mohammedi card being presented by Main Events and Peltz Boxing in association with Greg Cohen Promotions, Karl Dargan (15-0, 7 KOs) will fight Anthony Flores (11-4-1, 6 KOs).
Dudchenko takes a 16-fight winning streak that includes 10 knockouts into his clash with Nadjib Mohammedi (34-3, 20 KOs), with the winner becoming the mandatory challenger to IBF and WBA titleholder Bernard Hopkins.
Although the IBF has ordered Hopkins to face the winner of Dudchenko-Mohammedi, there is an organization rule in place for Hopkins to take a unification bout against RING and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson should Stevenson get beyond Saturday's defense against Andrzej Fonfara, according to IBF President Daryl Peoples.
"In the IBF, a unification takes precedence over the mandatory," said IBF President Daryl Peoples, in an April 30 interview with RingTV.com. "Bernard's been ordered to commence negotiations. He is the champion. He can ask to unify the titles without requesting an exception."
Already the oldest man to win a significant belt, doing so twice at the age of 46 and 48, respectively, the 49-year-old Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs) became the oldest fighter to unify titles with a unanimous decision over 30-year-old Beibut Shumenov, whom he dropped in the 11th round on April 19.