Andrey Ryabinskiy, the head of 'World of Boxing', the leading Russian promotional outfit, which guides careers of both Alexander Povetkin and Alexey Papin, found room in his busy schedule for an exclusive brief with BoxingScene on the latest wins for his best boxers.
On Saturday night in England, Alexander Povetkin (36-2-1, 25 KOs), having been down twice in the fourth and appearing to be on the brink of a crushing defeat to Dillian Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs), produced a knockout for the ages with the mother of all uppercuts in round five to capture Whyte’s WBC interim heavyweight title and (arguably) to remove the final obstacle for the Tyson Fury vs. Anthony Joshua unification mega-fight.
An hour earlier, WBC #4 ranked cruiserweight Alexey Papin (12-1, 11 KOs) earned a right for a second shot at now reigning WBC champion Ilunga Makabu with another coming-from-behind stoppage of fellow contender Ruslan Fayfer (25-2, 16 KOs) in a WBC 200lb eliminator. Papin was also trailing on the judges’ scorecards at the time of stoppage.
BoxingScene: Alexander was definitely losing the fight after four rounds. Were you thinking of victory at that point or a superstitious belief in something miraculous happening?
Ryabinskiy: We have never lost our confidence and belief in Povetkin. Alexander always fights to the very end no matter what, and he has already come back from very dangerous situations in his past. So, definitely it cannot be anything superstitious about his win over Whyte. Alexander Povetkin is ready for any opponent, and he just proved that. That’s said, we were very nervous at the end of the fourth because of the perilous turn the fight had taken in that round.
BoxingScene: The end came all of a sudden. Was that a pre-trained punch, which Alexander used to knock Whyte out, or was it just a lucky punch from the depth of his despair?
Ryabinskiy: First of all, it was the knockout of the year in my opinion – the way he annihilated such a dangerous opponent; that was something tremendous! It was not a lucky punch though. Povetkin had been diligently working in his camp to set it up against Dillian Whyte, based on our observations of Whyte’s previous fights. The punch was very educated and it has produced in the exact manner we were hoping for.
BoxingScene: Povetkin was constantly throwing a left hook to the body, getting Whyte accustomed to it, right?
Ryabinskiy: Absolutely. He was shifting to his left, setting up that punch, forcing Whyte to let his hands down. We thought Alexnader would throw a left hook to the chin after that but all of a sudden he delivered that hellacious uppercut due to the nuances of Whyte’s failed defense at that moment.
BoxingScene: Had Whyte exceeded the expectations or failed them?
Ryabinskiy: Dillian Whyte is a world-class operator. He is a very strong fighter, one of the boxing’s elite. We knew he was working well in his camp and was preparing for Alexander Povetkin, trying to take no chances in the fight. He was very cautious and did not come forward as much as we thought he would. In that scenario, the knockout could have happened earlier.
BoxingScene: Eddie Hearn has already said that Alexander is not expected to get the winner of the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder trilogy. He said that a rematch clause with Povetkin will now be executed. Is this correct?
Ryabinskiy: It is. Team Whyte indeed has a rematch clause in the contract, so we are obliged to fight Dillian for the second time. We’ve got a lucrative offer for that, so, yes, we aim at a rematch with Dillian Whyte, and getting a winner of the showdown between Fury and Joshua.
BoxingScene: Alexey Papin was another victor on Saturday night. And, just like Alexander Povetkin, he was losing his fight before he knocked out Ruslan Fayfer.
Ryabinskiy: If you had listened to Papin’s post-fight interview, you would have known it had been the plan. Alexey has significantly upgraded his game lately, and he was ready for every type of opponent. But we decided to let Fayfer work a bit, to give him some chances, and we were ready for trailing scorecards. The accent was on the second half of the bout, and it has worked out just as planned.
BoxingScene: Fayfer was ranked #1 by the IBF besides this fight being the WBC cruiserweight eliminator. What is next for Alexey Papin?
Ryabinskiy: He dearly wants to erase the only blemish in his resume, and that is the loss to Ilunga Makabu. We are planning to have a rematch with the WBC champion next.