By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
WLADIMIR Klitschko has turned to the best in Britain in a bid to retain his world heavyweight titles tonight.Klitschko defends his IBF, WBA and WBO 'super' belts against Russian Alexander Povetkin in Moscow.
And, if the 37-year-old Germanbased Ukrainian wins, he will give a massive vote of thanks to fighters from this side of the Channel.
He has had intensive sparring with the likes of Michael Sprott and Sam Sexton, with Dillian Whyte also providing him with useful practice at his Austrian training base.
Wladimir's brother Vitali, the WBC champion, said: "My brother always seems to like British sparring partners."
Camp regular Sprott, the 38-year old former British champ, regularly came out as the best of the Brits to give Wladimir a workout.
Sprott said: "The three of us are similar in size to Povetkin and we knew what Wladimir was looking for from us. I haven't got a clue why Wladimir picks British boys to join him in camp but we are always in good shape.
"There was one guy from Brooklyn who came over and wasn't in shape. He lasted a couple of rounds and was sent back home, but we lasted the pace."
Tonight's Ukraine v Russia battle has certainly captured interest with Russian president Vladimir Putin expected to be ringside.
Sprott, meanwhile, has warned Wladimir that he could even be the latest boxer on the wrong end of a dodgy verdict.
He said: "I think he knows he might have to knock out Povetkin to get a decision in Russia. I questioned him about that and said that if it goes to points he may well lose on Russian soil."
PREDICTION: Povetkin is a really powerful puncher but I can see Klitschko wearing him down and winning around the eighth.
Klitschko v Povetkin is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) tonight 8.00pm. Join at www.boxnation.com