By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
ALEXANDER POVETKIN is ready to step in to face David Haye on May 21 if Ruslan Chagaev is not allowed to box in Britain.
WBA world heavyweight champion Haye, 30, is waiting for the British Boxing Board of Control’s decision on whether his mandatory challenger can box him at the O2 Arena in London.
The Board is considering medical advice about Uzbekistan’s Chagaev, who tested positive for the hepatitis B virus in 2007.
His fight against Russian Nikolai Valuev in Finland in 2009 was cancelled at the last moment after he failed a medical.
The ex-WBA champion has since fought three times in his adopted homeland Germany but boxers have been stopped from fighting in Britain due to hepatitis.
Unbeaten Russian star Povetkin, 31, is next in line behind Chagaev in the WBA rankings and his promoter Kalle Sauerland says the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, nicknamed the Tsar, is willing to face Londoner Haye in a third defence. He said: “We are still David’s co-promoter for his next fight and Povetkin is next in the rankings behind Chagaev.
“I can’t influence anything because David is waiting on a decision from the board but I’ve spoken to Povetkin and he is more than excited about it. He’s fit, ready, willing and able to fight David Haye on May 21.
“He’s more than qualified to fight David. He was one of the most successful amateurs ever and has been mandatory challenger to Wladimir Klitschko for two years.
“It has to be referred to the WBA and they will need to make the decision but if Chagaev is turned down by the Board then Povetkin becomes David’s mandatory challenger.
“If it’s not possible for the champion to defend his title in his home country it would be strange.”
British Boxing Board of Control boss Robert Smith is waiting on medical reports to decide if Chagaev can box in Britain.
Haye, 30, insists a clash against either Povetkin or Chagaev will be his penultimate fight before retirement.
And the Londoner still hopes to bring the curtain down on his career with a clash against rival world champion Wladimir Klitschko.
He said: “Povetkin is a very good fighter. I was due to fight him in the amateurs but it didn’t happen in the end. If there’s a problem with Chagaev and Povetkin becomes my mandatory, then it will be a great fight.
“Chagaev is a tricky opponent and his only loss was against Wladimir Klitschko in a fight which he took at two weeks’ notice and had to be dragged off the beach for.
“I’ve got a mandatory defence against either Chagaev or Povetkin and then I will fight once more in September or October, against Wladimir if he wants it. Then that’s it.”
But Haye and IBF-WBO ruler Klitschko, 34, have repeatedly failed to agree terms and the Ukrainian is now considering a clash against Poland’s Tomasz Adamek in September.