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Light heavyweight titlist Bernard Hopkins, slated to make a mandatory title defense at age 48, will grow a little older waiting for the opportunity.
Hopkins was due to face Karo Murat of Germany on July 13 in a Showtime-televised main event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. However, Golden Boy Promotions announced on Friday that the entire card has been canceled. Murat was denied a visa by the United States Department of Homeland Security for reasons that were not announced and is unable to enter the country.
It is unclear whether the bout will be rescheduled or Hopkins will move onto some other fight, given that Murat won't be able to enter the U.S. for an extended period.
"This is an extremely disappointing development, as we were anticipating Bernard making history once again on July 13 at Barclays Center," Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer said. "Since the administrative process that would have to be undertaken in order for Murat's visa petition to be reconsidered takes longer than six months, we're exploring several options with respect to Bernard's next fight."
In March, Hopkins outpointed Tavoris Cloud at the Barclays Center to win a light heavyweight fight, breaking the record he set in 2011 by beating Jean Pascal at age 46 to become the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title.
Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs), of Philadelphia, was looking to make his first defense against Murat and then planned to move on to a bigger fight against a more recognizable name.
"I'm extremely disappointed about the fight being canceled," Hopkins said. "I was already in the gym, sparring and preparing for the fight, but things happen. I know Richard Schaefer and the staff at Golden Boy Promotions are already working on something bigger and better. I stay in shape, so being ready is never a problem, and I look forward to whatever fight is made for me in the near future."
Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs), 29, was supposed to be fighting in the United States for the first time.
"Obviously, I am very disappointed. I have been in training for almost three months now," Murat said from his training camp in Mallorca, Spain. "But I understand that my promoter's representative, Chris Meyer [the general manager of Sauerland Event], is in talks with Richard Schaefer to discuss possible alternatives."
Those who purchased tickets to the event can return them for a full refund at their original place of purchase.