Dan Rafael: Anatoliy Dudchenko

There's a good chance that unified light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins will square off with champion Adonis Stevenson in the fall.

Waiting for the winner of the bout will be a mandatory defense against either Anatoliy Dudchenko or Nadjib Mohammedi, who meet in a title eliminator on Saturday (NBC Sports Net, 8 p.m. ET) at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

[+] EnlargeAnatoliy Dudchenko, Nadjib Mohammedi
Rich Graessle/Main EventsNadjib Mohammedi and Anatoliy Dudchenko will meet in a light heavyweight title eliminator.
"This is a significant fight because the winner is going to be the No. 1 contender in the IBF," Main Events chief executive Kathy Duva said. "Bottom line: the winner of this fight is going to get a shot at a very big fight.

"There's a whole lot of young talent out there like Anatoliy and Nadjib and they want to test themselves against the best. At end of the day there are two elderly guys [49-year-old Hopkins and 36-year-old Stevenson] holding things up in the light heavyweight division. In a few years all this will be forgotten because these two guys are the future of the division. Down the road these young men will challenge Sergey Kovalev for his title. We keep all of our fighters active."

Dudchenko (19-2-0, 13 KOs), 35, of Ukraine, and now living in Los Angeles, has won 16 fights in a row since 2008. This will be his first fight since signing with Main Events.

Mohammedi (34-3-0, 20 KOs), 29, of France, will be fighting in the Unites States for the first time. He has won 10 consecutive fights since a loss in 2011.

Neither is known in the U.S., but they are hoping a good performance Saturday will change that.

"Fighting on television in America is everything I've wanted when I started boxing," Dudchenko said. "I watched Roy Jones on TV and that is what I wanted to be. I was on TV in Europe, but this is a bigger audience in America and I am excited to be fighting on 'Fight Night.'"

For the fight Dudchenko, who has been in the U.S. since 2004, reunited with trainer Jesse Reid, who had trained him briefly earlier in his career.

"Nadjib is a good fighter and a smart boy. He's tough. I respect each of my opponents but in my heart it doesn't matter who is in front of me," Dudchenko said. "I come back to Jesse because we did one fight before and it was a [first-round knockout]. He likes my style."

Said Reid, "Anatoliy looks at everybody as the toughest fight of his life. I have been in this business for a long time and with Anatoliy I see a great athlete. Age is not a factor for him. We are here to win not to talk about a bunch of other people. If we have to box we'll box with Mohammedi. I have some real hungry fighters in my career but these European fighters are so much hungrier than the U.S. fighters.

"I am very excited about being a part of this. I am very happy to be working with Anatoliy. I love his attitude and the way he works. He may be 35 but he is like a 20 year old. He is young and hungry."

Mohammedi is also hungry.

"I want to thank everyone that gave me the possibility to come here and box. It's the fruit of our labor that brought us here," he said. "We have been working towards this for years. We have no pressure at all. We have been boxing in many other places than the United States. I have no pressure at all because the ring is my home.

"We are ready for everything. That is what we trained for. After this fight we are ready to prove to all the American people that we are ready to be a world champion. I believe this fight will end in a KO. We are not here to play around. We came to fight. I am sure I am going to win and I am ready to fight anyone after that. It was my plan to fight in 2014 for a title."

In the scheduled 10-round co-feature, Karl Dargan (15-0, 7 KOs) and Anthony Flores (11-4-1, 6 KOs) will meet in an all-Philadelphia lightweight bout.
There’s been a change in plans for the light heavyweight eliminator to produce one of the mandatory challengers for the winner of the April 19 unification fight between Bernard Hopkins and Beibut Shumenov.

Anatoliy Dudchenko (19-2, 13 KOs) and Dmitry Sukhotsky (21-2, 16 KOs) were supposed to meet in the eliminator on April 4 in Philadelphia on the undercard of the Steve Cunningham-Amir Mansour heavyweight fight.

However, Sukhotsky has pulled out of the fight and Dudchenko, a 35-year-old from Ukraine based in Los Angeles, is instead slated to face Nadjib Mohammedi (34-3, 20 KOs), 29, of France. The fight is tentatively scheduled to take place on June 21 (NBS Sports Net) at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Main Events announced.

Main Events, which promotes Dudchenko, had won the purse bid for Sukhotsky-Dudchenko for $12,000. Sukhotsky probably pulled out because he was not happy with his $9,000 purse (the 75 percent of the winning purse bid he was due).

The fight will be Dudchenko’s first since signing with Main Events. He has won 16 fights in a row since losing two in a row in 2007 and 2008. Mohammedi will be fighting in the United States for the first time. He has won 10 fights in a row since Sukhotsky stopped him in the second round of a 2011 fight in Russia.

“Dudchenko is ready to fight anyone the IBF wants him to fight. We are working to make sure this fight gets done as soon as possible,” Main Events chief executive Kathy Duva said. “The IBF has ordered the winner of the Bernard Hopkins versus Beibut Shumenov matchup to fight the winner of this fight. So this is a very big opportunity for both fighters."

Light heavy eliminator set

March, 4, 2014
Mar 4
Light heavyweight titleholders Bernard Hopkins and Beibut Shumenov are getting ready for their unification fight on April 19 at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C. But they might want to take a look at Main Events’ card on April 4 (NBC Sports Net).

It is on that show that the April 19 winner can find out the identity of one of his mandatory challengers.

Main Events on Monday won a purse bid for the title eliminator between Dmitry Sukhotsky (21-2, 16 KOs), and Anatoliy Dudchenko (19-2, 13 KOs) and announced that the fight would take place on the April 4 card at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. The card is headlined by the heavyweight fight between former cruiserweight titlist Steve Cunningham (26-6, 12 KOs) and Amir Mansour (20-0, 15 KOs).

Main Events, which promotes Dudchenko, was the only bidder on the fight. It offered $12,000. Sukhotsky gets 75 percent ($9,000) and Dudchenko is entitled to the remaining 25 percent ($3,000), although Main Events plans to work something out with him to give him a bigger purse.

Dudchenko, 35, a Ukraine native living in Los Angeles, signed with Main Events in December, and this will be his first fight with the company. He has won 16 fights in a row since losing two in a row in 2007 and 2008.

Sukhotsky, 32, of Russia, will be fighting in the United States for the second time. He has won three fights in a row, all by knockout. He lost a decision to Juergen Braehmer in a 2009 light heavyweight world title bout. His other loss was a decision to Cornelius White in July 2012.

“The winner will be in line to challenge Bernard Hopkins for the IBF light heavyweight championship, so it's great that fight fans will get to see this eliminator," Main Events promoter Kathy Duva said.

Barrera joins Main Events

February, 21, 2014
Feb 21
Main Events doesn’t have a deep stable of fighters under contract, but many of the fighters it does promote are in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions.

At light heavyweight, its central figure is titleholder Sergey Kovalev. A good promoter is always looking to build interest in a division in which it has a stake as well as build opponents for the star to fight.

That brings us to Cuban light heavyweight Sullivan Barrera (10-0, 6 KOs), who signed Thursday with Main Events, adding yet another 175-pounder to a roster that already includes Kovalev, Anatoliy Dudchenko, Isaac Chilemba, Lionell Thompson and Ilshat Khusnulgatin.

"I am very happy and very excited. I thank Main Events for the opportunity to let people know who Sullivan Barrera is,” Barrera said. “I feel I am the best in the light heavyweight division. The problem I've faced is that I wasn't given the opportunity to compete. Now that Main Events will give me the opportunity, I will be able to show my talent."

Barrera figures to gain national exposure on Main Events’ slate of “Fight Night” cards on the NBC Sports network.

"We are very excited to have Barrera on board with us here at Main Events. He has it in him to be an electrifying performer and the sky is the limit,” Main Events chief executive Kathy Duva said.

Barrera, 31, lives in Miami and turned pro in 2009, and he has had long stretches of inactivity. He fought only twice in 2011 and once each in 2012 and 2013. But as an amateur, he was 282-27 and holds victories against former light heavyweight world champion Chad Dawson and reigning titleholder Beibut Shumenov.

Barrera found his way to Main Events in part because his adviser, Egis Klimas, manages Kovalev and Khusnulgatin.

"Sullivan was always a fighter, but even as a veteran he continues to want to learn more,” trainer Milton Lacroix said. “He wants to continue progressing towards his ultimate goal, which is to be the best light heavyweight and champion of the world."

Said Klimas, “The light heavyweight division is getting to be one of the most interesting in boxing today, with champions like Bernard Hopkins, Beibut Shumenov, Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev. When we started with Sergey in 2009, the division was almost dead. We have a lot of young talents coming up into the division, young and aggressive fighters. Adding Sullivan Barrera to my list of fighters is great. He was not recognized for some time, just like Sergey Kovalev, until we signed him with Main Events."