After calling out Tyson Fury multiple times, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will be fighting mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. The bigger news is that Wilder will be making his fourth title defense far away from home-in Russia.
Making Povetkin Comfortable
According to Andrey Ryabinsky, Povetkin’s promoter, they had two choices in making the bout: one was to make more money and the other was making Povetkin feel comfortable. He chose the latter and now he says the rest is up to his fighter.
To achieve that, Rabinsky won the purse bid held last month. Lou DiBella, who represents Wilder, offered $5.1M for the bout while Rabinsky’s bid was $7.1M. Although Wilder is entitled to 70% of the purse as champion, Rabinsky’s winning bid allowed him to force Wilder to fight outside the United States. And that he did.
Rabinsky announced to media earlier this week that the fight will take place on May 21st in Moscow. Wilder, who was earlier rumored to vacate the title if he were to fight abroad, confirmed via promoter Lou DiBella that he was more than willing to go to Moscow, defend his title and take the lion’s share of the $7.1M purse.
Really Wanted The Fight
Getting to fight in Moscow for the world title should be more than enough motivation for Povetkin who has been chasing Wilder since last year. Povetkin has won four fights in a row after losing a WBA version of the heavyweight title to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013. During that winning run, Povetkin defeated four legitimate heavyweights in Mariusz Wach, Mike Perez, Carlos Takam and Manuel Charr.
Povetkin flew all the way from Russia to be at Deontay Wilder’s fight against Artur Szpilka last January 16th at the Barclays Center in New York, USA. Although it was unified Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury who took centerstage by challenging Wilder by creating a scene during the post-fight interviews, Wilder already declared that he was ready to fight Povetkin after being criticized for taking voluntary title defenses.
The athletic Wilder is unbeaten in 36 fights and has knocked out all but one of his opponents, including 18 in the very first round. This incredible punching power though is paired with an erratic style owing to the fact that Wilder didn’t start to box until ten years ago.
On the other hand, Povetkin is 30-1 with 22 KOs with his only loss coming to Wladimir Klitschko. The former 2004 Olympic Super Heavyweight gold medalist owns impressive wins over current or former world champions Chris Byrd, Marco Huck, Ruslan Chagaev and Hasim Rahman. Povetkin is 6-1 in his last 7 bouts and all those wins have been by knockout. With a similarly heavy hitter opposite Deontay Wilder, experts do not think this fight between knockout artists will go the distance.
Although this fight could very well be a 50-50 bout because of both men’s KO power, Wilder opened as a very slight -125 favorite against Povtekin who opened at +120. Without doubt, this will be the toughest fight for the untested Wilder not only because he is facing a former world champion but also because he will be fighting in his opponent’s home country.