By Igor Lazorin, tass
There is a backup opponent waiting in the wings. It wasn't that long ago that BJ Flores (34-3-1, 21 KOs) called for a fight with former world champion Alexander Povetkin (32-1, 23 KOs).
If the pieces fall into place, he may get his wish.
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, a deal was reached for Povetkin to fight heavyweight contender Christian Hammer (22-4, 12 KOs) of Germany. The contracts have been signed for the fight, and it takes place on December 15 in Russia.
At their recent annual convention, the World Boxing Organization sanctioned Povetkin vs. Hammer as a final WBO eliminator for a world title shot at Joseph Parker.
Hammer is currently the number one ranked fighter under the WBO, while Povetkin is ranked at six and also holds the WBO's International title.
Back in September Parker retained his world title with a close twelve round majority decision over mandatory challenger Hughie Fury.
But if something goes wrong with the fight, the promoters are going secure Flores as an alternate opponent.
Flores, who now fights at heavyweight, has won two in a row since losing to Tony Bellew back in October 2016.
"We will also speak with [Flores], we will announce the name of the reserve opponent as soon as we sign a contract with him," said event promoter Alexei Titov, explaining that this decision is being made in the event that Hammer withdraws from the fight.
2016 was the worst year in Povetkin's career. The boxer tested positive, twice, when he was days away from a fight and saw those opportunities fall apart. First, planned May collision with WBC champion Deontay Wilder fell out less than two weeks before the fight after Povetkin failed a drug test. Then he was set in December to fight Bermane Stiverne in a final eliminator, which also fell out after a failed test result on the morning of the fight.