Wilkes-Barre, PA: IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins must face the winner of the Dudchenko-Mohammedi fight as his next mandatory opponent. IBF Championship Chairman, Lindsey E. Tucker, Jr. sent IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins a letter on April 21, 2014 informing Hopkins that he is required to fight the winner of the June 21st Dudchenko-Mohammedi fight. Anatoliy “The Gladiator” Dudchenko (19-2-0, 13 KOs) and Nadjib Mohammedi (34-3-0, 20 KOs) will face off at the new Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, PA for the #1 position in the IBF as the main event of the June 21st edition of NBCSN Fight Night.
Making his Main Events’ debut, Dudchenko, 35, is originally from Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine and now resides in Los Angeles, CA. He is currently the IBF Intercontinental Light Heavyweight Champion and has won sixteen straight bouts in a row (seven by knockout) dating all the way back to May 16, 2008 with a first round TKO of Chris Eppley in Evansville, Indiana.
“I started fighting to become a world champion,” said Dudchenko. “Every fight is a step closer to my dream. I’ve waited for this opportunity my entire career.”
The legendary Hopkins, current IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Champion, has been quoted in the media recently about possible fights with Adonis Stevenson and Floyd Mayweather. However, Anatoliy’s manager, Vince Caruso said, “Currently, Bernard Hopkins is under the delusion that he can just make his own rules, bypass his mandatory and go straight to a bout with Adonis Stevenson. Anatoliy and Naj Mohammedi have earned the right to face each other in an elimination bout and the winner be rewarded with a title shot. We expect Mr. Hopkins, as a world champion, will comply with the IBF’s rules.”
A resident of Gardanne, Bouches-du-Rhône, France, Mohammedi, 29, has never fought in the United States. Nadjib has won ten straight bouts with seven knockouts since suffering a loss to Dmitry Sukhotsky on October 8, 2011 in Saint Petersburg, Russia and is currently ranked #4 in the IBF.
Mohammedi’s manager, Christel Aujoux, said, “Nadjib is happy and proud to fight in the United States for the first time. Thanks, Main Events, for this opportunity.”
Main Events’ CEO, Kathy Duva said, “I’m happy that we can bring another elimination bout to Fight Night and continue our mission to televise competitive fights with outstanding athletes who are on the road to a world title.” She added, “This will also be Anatoliy’s first fight under our banner, so I’m excited to see him in action in person.”
“This is a great opportunity for both fighters to showcase their skills in the very hot light heavyweight division,” said Jolene Mizzone, Main Events’ matchmaker. “What makes this fight even more exciting is that the winner is going to be the mandatory challenger and will face champion Bernard Hopkins.”