Despite Murat receiving visa, Kovalev still IBF mandatory for Bernard Hopkins

USA TODAY Sports

Despite Karo Murat obtaining a visa, the IBF will not change its rankings. Therefore, Sergey Kovalev is still Bernard Hopkins' mandatory challenger.

Well this has certainly been a cluster you-know-what. The entire Showtime Championship boxing show scheduled for July 13th and headlined by Bernard Hopkins - Karo Murat was cancelled when Murat was unable to obtain a visa in time to guarantee his ability to enter the United States before the potential event. Afterwards, Sergey Kovalev was named Hopkins' IBF mandatory challenger in place of Murat who lost his chance because he was unable to face Hopkins in the allotted time.

However, earlier today it was reported by Boxing Scene that Murat has received a non-immigrant working visa for the United States. Great for him right? Probably get inserted back into the top contender spot by the IBF and get his shot. Well, not so fast.

World Boxing News is reporting that they have been informed by the IBF that they will not place Murat back into the number one contender spot. It will remain Kovalev's position, and he is now the mandatory, no questions asked.

However, with all of that being said, it still appears Hopkins and Kovalev will likely not be fighting. Kovalev is reportedly finalizing a deal with Nathan Cleverly according to Dan Rafael's Twitter account, and that fight looks like it will be August 17 on HBO.

So what will be the end result of all of this? Not everything is set in stone yet, but it looks like a very good bet Cleverly - Kovalev is going to happen. And with Murat's visa issues taken care of, wouldn't be shocked to see Hopkins - Murat finally take place as well.

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