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Boxing: Ageless Hopkins to defend crown against Murat


Bernard Hopkins, the oldest boxer to win a major world title, said Wednesday that he will defend his International Boxing Federation light-heavyweight crown later this year against German Karo Murat.

Hopkins broke his own world record by nearly two years last month by winning a unanimous decision over Tavoris Cloud at the age of 48 to take the title.

"Yes my next fight is the mandatory Murat," Hopkins confirmed in a posting on his Twitter page, later posting that the fight would happen in July or August.

Promoter Richard Schaefer told ESPN that the Barclays Center in New York or Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City were likely venues for the fight.

Murat, a 29-year-old of Armenian heritage, is 25-1-1 with 15 knockouts. He suffered his only loss in 2010 to undefeated Welshman Nathan Cleverly and won his most recent bout last June by stopping Czech Sandro Siproshvili.

Hopkins, 53-6 with two drawn and 32 knockouts, had to face Murat or forfeit the title under terms of a deal that allowed him to step in front of Murat to challenge Cloud.

Hopkins told ESPN that if he gets past Murat, he would be interested in a unification fight in Britain against either World Boxing Organization champion Cleverly, 25-0 with 12 knockouts, or Carl Froch (30-2 with 22 knockouts), provided the Englishman beats Mikkel Kessler in a May unification showdown for the IBF and World Boxing Council super-middleweight crowns.

Also mentioned was a possible fight with former super middleweight champion Lucian Bute in Canada if Bute defeats Jean Pascal in a May 25 bout.