By Alexey Sukachev
Former WBA heavyweight champion and now the State Duma member Nikolai Valuev spoke to R-Sport on the future of his fellow compatriot and formerly a champion himself, Alexander Povetkin.
“Fighters in the sport’s heaviest weight class are typically older in comparison with fighters from other weight classes. Thus, I’m sure Alexander [Povetkin] will have a chance to fight for the title in future. And he will fight for it. But he has to do what has to be done, and that’s to fight good, world-rated fighters to restore his stature and his top position in the ranks. Unfortunately, his case is very suitable for those promoters, interested in speculation over drug offenses. Because of that, I consider the chances for Povetkin to fight for the title in Russia to be very slim," said Valuev.
“[IBF champion] Anthony Joshua looks very solid, and I’m excited to see him fight [WBC champion] Deontay Wilder. I also think that Sasha is ready to fight Joshua for the IBF belt. The problem for Alexander will be his height – he is shorter than Joshua. But I have always believed in Povetkin, and I haven’t lost my faith in him”.
WBO #8 and IBF #13 Povetkin (32-1, 23 KOs), who turns 38 on September 2, last fought on July 1 in Moscow, Russia, outpointing Ukrainian Andriy Rudenko over twelve one-sided rounds.
Last year Povetkin went through a lot of trouble, after testing positive - twice - prior to scheduled fights. He tested positive for a banned substance before a May 2016 world title fight with Wilder - which caused the contest to be canceled. And then a planned December fight with Bermane Stiverne was canceled only hours before the fight - after Povetkin once again tested positive for a banned substance.
He was banned by the sanctioning bodies after an initial suspension by the WBC, but recently he's been accepted back in the ranks by the IBF, WBO and WBA.