IBF/WBA light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins was recently informed that he will be expected to begin negotiations for his mandatory defense against the winner of the June 21 IBF eliminator between Anatoliy “The Gladiator” Dudchenko (19-2, 13 KOs) and Nadjib Mohammedi (34-3, 20 KOs).
However, Hopkins has indicated he wants to unify with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson next and that can still happen before facing Dudchenko or Mohammedi. “It is possible for Hopkins to fight in a unification bout,” IBF Championship Chairman Lindsey E. Tucker told Fightnews.com. “Under our rules, a unification takes priority over the mandatory. This goes back to the 1980s when the three major sanctioning bodies (WBA, WBC and IBF) agreed that we wanted only one champion in each weight class. As you can see now, that is no longer true.
“If the IBF grants Hopkins the unification bout, one of the conditions that we normally request is that the winner does the IBF mandatory next. The winner of Dudchenko vs. Mohammedi would be #1 and the mandatory challenger.”
Tucker also dismissed the possibility of an IBF interim light heavyweight title, a gimmick that has been overused by other organizations. “We don’t have interim champions except in rare cases,” he stated. “We only want one champion per weight class.”