- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Cruiserweight titleholder Yoan Pablo Hernandez will make his second defense, a mandatory bout, against Troy Ross on Sept. 15 at Stechert Arena in Bamberg, Germany, promoter Sauerland Event announced Wednesday.
The fight has been a long time coming for Ross, a former two-time Canadian Olympian and the 2009 winner of "The Contender" reality series.
In June 2010, Ross was stopped by then-titlist Steve Cunningham because of a cut in the fifth round. Ross, however, was due to fight for the belt again against the winner of an October 2011 bout between Cunningham and Hernandez. After Hernandez won a highly controversial sixth-round technical decision against Cunningham to claim the belt, a rematch was ordered, forcing Ross to wait for his second chance.
Hernandez and Cunningham met again on Feb. 4 and Hernandez (26-1, 13 KOs) won a unanimous decision in a rousing fight. Now, Ross (25-2, 16 KOs) will get his second shot at a title.
"He is very quick, agile and throws hard punches," Hernandez said of Ross. "I saw his title bout against Steve Cunningham back in June 2010. He was really strong but (the referee) had to stop the fight due to a heavy cut. He was really unfortunate and will try everything to beat me and become the new world champion."
Hernandez, 27, was a top amateur in Cuba before defecting to Germany, where he is based.
He won an interim title by knocking out Steve Herelius of France in the seventh round in February 2011, but really came of age in the rematch with Cunningham.
"This was one of the best championship fights I have ever seen," Ulli Wegner, Hernandez's trainer, said. "Yoan Pablo once again proved his class and won against a very strong and competitive Steve Cunningham."
Ross, 37, has won two fights in a row since the loss to Cunningham, including a unanimous eight-round decision against Lukasz Rusiewicz on the undercard of the Hernandez-Cunningham rematch in Frankfurt, Germany.