By Keith Idec, photos by Valery Sharifulin/TASS
Alexander Povetkin didn’t win the WBC interim heavyweight title Saturday, nor did he win many fans worldwide. He did beat Johann Duhaupas, a last-second substitute for Bermane Stiverne. Russia’s Povetkin stopped France’s Duhaupas in the sixth round of a scheduled 10-round, non-title fight at the Ekaterinburg Expo in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
The 37-year-old Povetkin improved to 31-1 and recorded his 23rd knockout by knocking Duhaupas unconscious with a left hook just before the end of the sixth round. Duhaupas, 35, slipped to 34-4 (21 KOs).
Povetkin’s powerful punch left a retreating Duhaupas flat on his back. He lost consciousness for several seconds, but was aware of his surroundings and sitting up soon after the fight was stopped.
The Povetkin-Duhaupas bout was hastily arranged Saturday after the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency revealed Povetkin failed another pre-fight performance-enhancing drug test.
Povetkin’s positive test prompted Stiverne to withdraw from their scheduled 12-round fight for the WBC’s interim heavyweight championship. The winner was to face WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in his following fight.
The smaller but stronger Povetkin regularly landed power shots against the plodding Duhaupas, whom Wilder knocked out in the 11th round of their June 2015 fight.
Povetkin knocked Duhaupas backward with a right hand in the third round. He later wobbled Duhaupas with a lunging left hook late in the fourth round.
An active Povetkin continued touching a sluggish Duhaupas with power punches throughout the fifth round. None of those shots appeared to affect Duhaupas as the right hand in the third round and the left hook in the fourth, though. His fight-finishing punch caught Duhaupas flush on the right side of his face as he tried to move backward, near a corner.