By Igor Lazorin, tass
The heavyweight bout between Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) and Andriy Rudenko (31-2, 19 KOs, #9 WBO, #13 IBF, #13 WBC) is now sanctioned for the WBO International championship.
"The WBO confirms that the international title is at stake," a WBO press officer stated.
The fight has been set to take place on July 1st in Moscow, Russia.
Povetkin is still under suspension by the World Boxing Council for failing a pre-fight drug test in connection to last December's planned WBC final eliminator with Bermane Stiverne. After the positive test was revealed, the WBC withdrew their sanction of the fight and Stiverne left Russia to head home. He was replaced on a day's notice by Johann Duhaupas, who Povetkin knocked out in six rounds.
It was the second failed test for Povetkin in 2016, after testing positive for a scheduled May fight with WBC champion Deontay Wilder. Povetkin tested positive for recently banned substance meldonium and the fight was canceled days later. There was a civil suit filed afterwards by Wilder and his promoter, who eventually won a judgement for millions of dollars. Povetkin's attorneys are appealing.
Povetkin is also appealing the WBC's decision to suspend him. Several other sanctioning bodies, like the IBF, WBA and WBO, followed the WBC's lead and will not allow the boxer to enter their rankings until he sorts out his issues with the World Boxing Council.
If Povetkin defeats Rudenko, it remains to be seen if and where he ends up in the WBO's rankings.
Rudenko has won seven fights in a row since suffering a two fight losing streak where he dropped decisions to Lucas Browne and Hughie Fury. The last time he saw action was in December 2016, when he won a ten round unanimous decision to Jason Bergman in Ukraine.
Rudenko is very durable, has a decent punch and has never been stopped, but the majority of his career has been staged in Ukraine and he's lost in the two instances where he stepped up his level of competition.