By Ian S Palmer
The WBO International Heavyweight Championship will be on the line in Moscow, Russia this Saturday, July 1st when hometown hero Alexander Povetkin takes on Andriy Rudenko of Ukraine. Povetkin last fought in December when he stopped Johan Duhaupas in the sixth round. Rudenko’s last fight took place on Christmas Eve when he beat Jason Bergman by a 10-round unanimous decision. Saturday’s 12-roubd bout can be seen in the UK live on BoxNation.
Povetkin hasn’t fought too much lately since his schedule bouts against Deontay Wilder and Bermaine Stiverne fell through due to some irregularities in the Russian’s drug tests. The 37-year-old Povetkin is a former world champion and has won five bouts in a row by knockout. He won the WBA Heavyweight Title by decision against Ruslan Chagaev in 2011. The Russian’s record currently stands at 31-1 with 23 Kos. His lone loss came against former heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko by 12-round unanimous decision in October of 2013.
Povetkin, an Olympic gold medalist in 2004, turned pro in 2005 and has 195 rounds under his belt. He stands 6-feet-2-inches tall and has a 75-inch reach. His power is probably underrated as he’s quite a heavy puncher with a current knockout ratio of 72 per cent. Povetkin’s biggest wins have been against the likes of Duhaupas, Mariusz Wach, Chagaev, Mike Perez, Carlos Takam, Manuel Charr, Hasim Rahman, Marco Huck, Nicolai Firtha, Eddie Chambers, Chris Byrd, Larry Donald and Friday Ahunanya. He needs to land something hard before Rudenko does to gain confidence and his opponent at bay.
The 33-year-old Rudenko will climb into the ring with an impressive record of 31-2 along with 19 Kos and has won seven straight fights. He’s just over 6-feet-tall and has an unlisted reach. Rudenko has 169 rounds under his belt since turning pro back in 2006 and has a decent knockout ratio of 56 per cent. Rudenko has beaten the likes of Mike Mollo and Marcelo Luiz Nascimento while his losses came by way of unanimous decisions to Hughie Fury and Lucas Browne. He has a pretty solid chin, but seems to fall short when stepping up in class and he’ll be stepping up in class again on Saturday against Povetkin.
Povetkin’s been one of this era’s most consistent heavyweights and also possesses pretty good power. He may be older than Rudenko, but is bigger and more experienced and will be fighting at home once again. Rudenko’s not a knockout artist so he has a tough task in front of him here. He might be able to last the distance, but I don’t think he has what it takes to leave the ring with a victory.