By Luke Furman
Although his organization was not involved in the fight, World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman was very proud of the performance of Alexander Povetkin of Russia.
Povetkin (34-2, 24 KOs), who is the mandatory challenger under the WBA and WBO, was knocked out in seven rounds by IBF, WBO, IBO, WBA world champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) on Saturday night, before a massive crowd at Wembley Stadium in London.
Povetkin suffered the first stoppage loss of his pro career and his first defeat since 2013, when he lost a twelve round decision to a prime Wladimir Klitschko.
Povetkin has had quite the history with the WBC.
He was scheduled to fight WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in May of 2016, but the contest was canceled after Povetkin tested positive for a banned substance. And then in December 2016, Povetkin was scheduled to fight Bermane Stiverne for the WBC interim-title, and that fight was also canceled after the Russian boxer tested positive for another banned substance.
Many expected the WBC to issue a multi-year ban from the sport.
After paying a hefty fine and taking part in a strict drug testing program, the WBC allowed Povetkin to continue his career and avoid a long suspension.
At 39-years-old, the Olympic gold medal winner and former WBA world champion has possibly reached the end of the road - as securing another world title shot will not come anytime soon.
Sulaiman says Povetkin's future should only be decided by the fighter himself.
"It was a great fight at a heavyweight, both fighters showed off their big hearts and great abilities. Povetkin was fighting in this fight on an equal footing [with Joshua]. I'm proud of Alexander for his perseverance and dedication to boxing. He deserves the opportunity to decide his future on his own," said Sulaiman to Vasily Konov.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org