By Alexey Sukachev
Russia - In his arguably most important fight in several years, Russian Alexander Povetkin (33-1, 23 KOs) secured a one-sided yet workmanlike unanimous decision over Romanian Christian Hammer (22-5, 12 KOs). Scores: 120-107, 120-108, and 119-108 - exactly reflect Povetkin's dominance in this particular fight but says little of his shape and ability to compete with the world-beaters with the belts. Still it was a very solid win for a fighter, involved more in court battles recently than in actual fighting.
Hammer, 30, came in ranked #1 by the WBO, #3 by the WBA and #4 by the IBF. Povetkin, 38, was WBA #2, WBO #6 and IBF #12 rated contender.
The fight, which was virtually even on paper, turned into a one-sided dominant performance by a much better fighter in the ring. Povetkin was aggressive and energetic. He also looked ripe and vigorous at 223 pounds, his lightest over the last eleven years.
Povetkin was a general in the ring as he always loves to be. Hammer was also content to stay at the ropes behind a tight guard but that wasn't the smartest move as he was under fire all time long and his slow retaliations were mostly off the mark.
Povetkin , meanwhile, collected body shots in the first half of the fight as per the advice of his head coach Ivan Kirpa. His punches were crisp and felt well by the Romanian but the latter took them fairly well. As rounds went by Povetkin started to mix body and head shots and threw in multi-punch combinations. Hammer stood firm but had very limited success of his own, thus being outboxed and outpunched by the Russian.
Povetkin added a vacant WBA I/C title to an already owned WBO International belt.
After the bout, the WBA confirmed to BoxingScene.com that Povetkin is now the mandatory challenger to their world champion, Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs), who also holds the IBO, IBF belts.
"Povetkin became the number one challenger to Anthony Joshua, current World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight super champion. Povetkin faced and defeated Christian Hammer . Thus, according to the previous resolution issued by the WBA Championships Committee that indicated that this would be an elimination fight for the super championship, Povetkin has the opportunity to challenge Joshua," a WBA rep told BoxingScene.com in a statement.