Yoan Pablo Hernandez to defend title

Updated: January 15, 2014, 1:09 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Cruiserweight titlist Yoan Pablo Hernandez will make the fourth defense of his crown when he faces Pawel Kolodziej on March 8 at Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin, Germany, promoter Sauerland Event announced on Wednesday.

This will be Hernandez's first optional defense since winning the title in the 200-pound weight division in 2011. His previous three defenses were all against mandatory opponents.

"There are no easy opponents when you are at the top of your division," Hernandez said. "I always have to prove that I am the best in the world and that is what I will do again come March 8."

Hernandez (28-1, 14 KOs), 29, a former standout on the Cuban national amateur team before he defected to Germany, won his title in 2011 by a controversial sixth-round technical decision against American Steve Cunningham and then outpointed him in a rematch.

Later in 2012, Hernandez outpointed Troy Ross and then, after a lengthy layoff because of surgery to repair a broken hand, stopped Alexander Alekseev in the 10th round on Nov. 23.

Kolodziej (33-0, 18 KOs), 33, of Poland, has built his record against lesser opposition and will be fighting in a world title fight for the first time. He went 3-0 in 2013 and is coming off a seventh-round knockout of Prince Anthony Ikeji in Nov. 23 in Poland.

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