Bernard Hopkins will defend his IBF light heavyweight championship against Karo Murat next month.
The fight, scheduled for July 13 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and announced Wednesday in Manhattan, will be Hopkins’ first since winning the title from Tavoris Cloud in March.
It will also mark the first time Murat, 29, will fight in North America. He has fought primarily in Germany, although he has had fights in Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Spain and England.
Hopkins, 48, was joined at the press conference by Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, Golden Boy Promotions COO David Itskowitch, and the executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports, Stephen Espinoza. Murat, 19 years younger than Hopkins, participated via Skype from his training camp site in Zinnowitz, Germany. He spoke through a translator.
Hopkins has a career record of 53-6-2 with 32 knockouts. Murat is 25-1-1.
”I reflect, a little bit in my mind, about defending not only a title, but also defending my historic career,” Hopkins said. ”I’m not ready to retire yet. I’m glad to have a chance to now defend the light-heavyweight championship at this stage.”
The win over Cloud made Hopkins the oldest fighter to win a title. Hopkins won three light-heavyweight titles after turning 40, and was the longest reigning middleweight champion.
”The burden is on Bernard Hopkins, not Karo Murat,” Hopkins said. ”The burden is on me to be who I am, to show the world that when it comes to age, when it comes ‘whether he can do this or do that,’ don’t count Bernard Hopkins out.”
Murat, with 15 knockouts, won’t be an easy opponent.
”If you don’t know Karo Murat, you will after July 13,” Hopkins said. ”He takes a good punch. He’s sort of an aggressive guy. Good defense. It’s a thing where he’s going to be out of his comfort zone, not because (he’ll be in) New York, but there’s no one he ever fought in the amateurs or professionals that can imitate the historic career and style I possess when I get in that ring.”
Murat is unfazed.
”This is a huge opportunity for me to fight against someone like Bernard Hopkins,” Murat said. ”I’ve been following his career since I was about 10 years old. And now I actually get to face him. I’m just really looking forward to it. I’m really happy that he accepted the fight.
”It gives me a chance which is the biggest of my career so far.”
The event will be the fifth boxing card that Barclays Center has hosted in its inaugural year. All five have been promoted by Golden Boy.