When Wladimir Klitschko was facing Francesco Pianeta in defense of his RING heavyweight championship on May 4, and Alexander Povetkin was fighting Andrzej Wawrzyk in a battle of unbeatens on May 17, Klitschko was rooting for Povetkin, and, vice versa.
That’s because plans were already in the works for Klitschko and Povetkin to meet in a clash of Olympic gold medalists and a megafight meant to yield the most lucrative pay day for each competitor.
Each fighter did his part.
A 1996 Olympic gold medalist for Ukraine, Klitschko (60-3, 51 knockouts) scored his 18th consecutive victory and his 13th stoppage during that run with a sixth-round knockout of the previously undefeated Pianeta.
Similarly, Povetkin (26-0, 18 KOs), a 33-year-old winner of Olympic gold for Russia in 2004, came up with a third-round stoppage of Wawrzyk.
As a result, their Oct. 5 matchup was announced on Monday during a press conference at the Mary Jan Bar that was attended by a horde of media members in Moscow, an event organized by Russian promoter Andrey Ryabinsky for a bout to be held at Moscow’s indoor Olympic stadium.
“Of course,” said Povetkin, in response to whether or not he was rooting for Klitschko. “I always believed that Ukraine, Russia and Belarus are one country, and I was always pulling for Wladimir.”
Klitschko echoed Povetkin’s sentiment.
“I can just repeat Alexander’s words,” said Klischko, 37, owner of the IBF, WBA and WBO belts who will be after his 15th defense in Moscow. “I wanted badly for him to beat Wawrzyk. I just did not know it would be so easy.”
According to Chicago-based attorney, John Wirt, who represents Ryabinsky on behalf of OblStroy Finance Limited promotional company, Vladimir Hryunov was representing Ryabinsky in April when he bid $23,333,330 toward the Klitschko-Povetkin bout.
Hryunov’s bid was far above the minimum required of $1 million, and surpassed those of K2 Promotions and Sauerland Event ($7.1 million and $6.01 million, respectively).
As the WBA’s “super champion,” Klitschko would receive a favorable 75-to-25 percent split of the purse, or $17,499,997.50 compared to $5,833,332.50. Both amounts would be career-highs for Klitschko and Povetkin.
“There’s a big responsibility for me to fight the best heavyweight in the world. We have a tactical plan, working on physical preparation. I will not tell you anything more,” said Povetkin.
“You have to see my fight on Oct. 5. Now is the time for strictly boxing preparations, sparring sessions. I don’t know who my sparring partners will be, but I need to have the best ones.”
Povetkin is THE RING’s ratings, Povetkin sits at No. 2, ranked only below champion Klitschko and his brother, No. 1-rated Vitali Klitschko, the WBC’s beltholder.
“My trainer, Emanuel Steward, told me in 2006, when he was fighting on the undercard of my fight, to keep an eye on him,” said Klitschko.
“[Steward said] ‘Wladimir, pay attention to this boy. He’s a talented prospect, good technical fighter.’ I did remember his words, and since then, I was following his career closely. I knew one day our paths would cross.”
Quotes provided by Peter Garczarczyk, In Action Production Corp.
Note: Wirt said OblStroy Finance is the promoter of the event, and that OblStroy is owned by Ryabinsky. Hrunov was the licensed WBA promoter who made the bid. Hrunov has an agreement with OblStroy.
MIKE ALVARADO-RUSLAND PROVODNIKOV TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY
Tickets go on sale on Friday at 10 a.m. mountain time for the junior welterweight clash between Russian fighter Ruslan Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs) and Mike Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs) on Oct. 19 for Alvarado’s 140-pound WBO belt, to be held at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo., a suburb of Denver, near Alvardo’s hometown of Thornton.
Tickets for the event, which is being promoted by Top Rank and Banner Promotions, are priced at $200, $100, $50 and $25, and can be purchased online at TicketHorse.com or ordered by phone at 866-461-6556 or at Tickethorse kiosks located at all Colorado Dick’s Sporting Goods Stores for credit card purchases only.
DEONTAY WILDER: ‘GOD HAS ANOINTED ME’
Heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder (29-0, 29 KOs) takes pride in the fact that his first-round stoppage of Sergei Liakhovich on Friday represented the former titleholder’s swiftest exit from the ring, following consecutive ninth-round knockout losses to unbeaten contenders Robert Helenius and Bryant Jennings.
“I felt good. I’m satisfied with the performance. This was a guy who had never been stopped in less than nine rounds, and I got him out of there in the first round. That speaks high volumes about me compared to who he was in against and the other guys that he has fought,” said Wilder, 27, a 6-foot-7 2008 Olympic bronze medalist.
“I had a lot of compliments on that fight as far as the energy that I had, and the style that I brought. The jab and the way that I moved, a lot of people said that I looked like a different fighter in this fight. It definitely lets me know that I’m improving, and that the things that I’m doing in the gym are not in vain. I’m definitely a student of the sport.”
“My sparring was perfect, I mean they had Liakhovich’s style down to the letter,” said Wilder. “Some of those guys had been in there with Liakhovich, like Alonzo Butler. So he had been in camp with Liakhovich before. It was a great night, overall, for me, and I feel as if God has annointed me.”
PROMOTER COMPARES ADONIS STEVENSON TO AGELESS BERNARD HOPKINS
Although RING and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (21-1, 17 KOs) turns 36 on Sept. 22 — six days prior to his scheduled Sept. 28 optional defense against ex-beltholder Tavoris Cloud (24-1. 19 KOs) — he expresses no concerns about his age.
Asked about his future, Stevenson raises the example set by IBF 175-pound beltholder Bernard Hopkins, whose unanimous decision dethroned Cloud in March.
In victory over Cloud, Hopkins, whose 48th birthday was on Jan. 15, eclipsed his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown. Hopkins’ initial record had been accomplished at the age of 46 with a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal for THE RING and WBC light heavyweight belts in May of 2011 in Montreal.
“Look Bernard Hopkins is 48 years old, and he’s a still a champion,” said Stevenson, who has envisioned a future clash with Hopkins should he get beyond Cloud and a possible December fight with mandatory challenger Tony Bellew.
“Now, I started late in my career, at the age of 29, and I don’t do a lot of 12 rounds fights because most of my fights end by knockout. Since I don’t get a lot of rounds of boxing, I’m at a young 35 years old.”
Stevenson had primarily campaigned as a 168-pounder before scoring June’s 76-second stoppage in Montreal that dethroned RING 175-pound champion Chad Dawson, whose unanimous decision over Hopkins had earned him the belt in April of last year.
“Adonis is a lot like Bernard Hopkins. Whether he has a signed contract to fight or not, he’s always in training and he’s very dedicated,” said promoter Yvon Michel of Stevens, a father of three young children. “He has three children and he’s a good family man who takes very good care of his body. Doesn’t drink, doesn’t fool around.”
BOYD MELSON HAS A REMATCH WITH JASON THOMPSON
Once-beaten junior middleweight Boyd Melson will step into the ring on Wednesday at BB King Blues Club in New York City against rival Jason Thompson, who provided the White Plains, N.Y., native one of his stiffest challenges in October of last year.
Melson (11-1-1, 4 knockouts) had to rise from a knockdown and score one of his own during a tightly-contested six-round draw with Thompson (5-6-3, 4 KOs) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on the undercard of a whose main event during which RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia knocked out Erik Morales in the fourth round.
“A rematch did not have prevalence in my mind,” said Melson, who is coming off a unanimous decision over Edgar Perez in April, and Thompson, off of yet another draw with unbeaten Frank Galarza in May.
“But when the rematch was offered, my competitive spirit immediately smiled. Both Jason and I feel won our first bout against one another, so I know he accepted this match with the same eagerness. Jason’s tough, and he’s fought very good opposition. I am shining bright Wednesday night. The end.”
Melson donates 100 percent of his fight purses to Justadollarplease.org in order to promote spinal cord research. After his fight with Thompson, for example, Melson donated his entire $2,000 purse, and even promoter Golden Boy’s president Oscar De La Hoya vowed to contribute a matching $2,000 to Melson’s “Team Fight To Walk.”
This past May 16, Melson helped raised more than $70,000 during “Team Fight to Walk’s” first fundraiser at BB King.
Photo courtesy of K2 Management
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]