Bernard Hopkins beats Karo Murat to defend light-heavyweight title

Bernard Hopkins punches Karo Murat

American Bernard Hopkins retained his IBF light-heavyweight belt with a unanimous points victory over Germany's Karo Murat to become the oldest fighter to defend a world title.

Hopkins, 48, started slowly but hurt his 30-year-old opponent in the seventh round in Atlantic City.

He could not secure a first stoppage in nine years, but won 119-108, 119-108 and 117-110 on the judges' scorecards.

The former middleweight legend has 54 career wins, six losses and two draws.

Bernard Hopkins
Hopkins entered the ring wearing an alien mask

Defeat to compatriot Chad Dawson in 2012 saw Hopkins lose his WBC light-heavyweight title, but a unanimous points victory over Tavoris Cloud in New York six months later broke his own previous record as the oldest champion in boxing history.

Murat, whose only previous loss in 24 fights came against Welshman Nathan Cleverly, failed to build on a solid start against Hopkins at the Boardwalk Hall.

A solid left hand by Murat in the third round served as a warning for Hopkins, who drew roars from the crowd in the fifth when he appeared to kiss his opponent on the neck during a clinch.

Murat, fighting in the United States for the first time, was warned for punching the champion after a slip in the sixth and was visibly hurt in the seventh after a flurry from Hopkins.

Now in full control, Philadelphia fighter Hopkins cut the Armenian-born Murat in the eighth, before closing out a comfortable points victory with another damaging right hand in the final round.

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