The Russian Vityaz Alexander Povetkin battles Haitian born American Bermane Stiverne for the Interim WBC world title at the Ekaterinburg Expo in Russia on December 17th.
Povetkin enters this fight off the back of an impressive string of knockout victories against world ranked opponents. He’s put away his last four opponents before the final bell since that unanimous decision loss to Klitschko back in 2013. Klitschko still remains the only man to have beaten Povetkin in the professional ring.
The most impressive of these knockout wins was when he prevailed in a fight of the year back in 2014. It was an explosive phone booth war with Carlos Takam and it culminated in a devastating left hook finishing Takam in the 10th round.
Povetkin seems to have an ability to be able to absorb punishment and he retains his power throughout the 12 rounds which make him dangerous. His conditioning is never the best but he is naturally strong and wears opponents down. He is a front foot fighter who likes to jump in with the lead left hook and finish with the looping overhand right. Against a static target he is very effective. His record now stands at 30W (22KO) with 1L.
The way to box Povetkin is from distance behind a solid, ramrod jab and straight right hand just as Klitschko did when he comprehensively outpoined the Russian back in 2013. Length, height and footwork are perfect attributes to negate the Russian. Povetkin will struggle against the giants of the division such as Wilder and Joshua but his opponent Bermane Stiverne is not one of the big men in the division.
They are both the same height standing at 6ft 2 inches tall but Stiverne will enjoy the reach advantage of around 2 inches. However the key for Stiverne is whether he can utilise this reach.
I don’t think Stiverne has the natural style to effectively implement this advantage. He is usually the shorter man in contests so has become used to having to get on the inside. Unless his corner have worked on his jab specifically ahead of this fight it looks as though the two men will collide head on on the inside. It will be interesting to see if he adapts his tactics to suit Povetkin.
Stiverne boasts a record of 25W 2L 1D with 21 wins coming via way of KO. He is the first Haitian to have won a vacant world title strap after claiming the WBC championship by knocking out Chris Arreola back in 2014.
However his reign was shortlived. He lost the title in his first defence to American champion Deontay Wilder. He lasted the full twelve with Deontay Wilder and took some huge shots along the way but remained standing and firing back. This shows you that he has a good chin and is a strong durable fighter.
Stiverne is actually very similar to Povetkin in style. He likes to throw the lead left hook often and is not shy of a tear up. Its very had to call this fight, both fighters punch hard but I would slightly favour Povetkin in this fight just because on the inside his shorter arms and slightly more compact shots may just enable him to land cleanly first in the big exchanges.
This fight has all the makings to be a slugfest. These are two fighters who struggle to box long so will clash head on on the inside. If it goes to points you’d expect Povetkin to get the nod with the fight being deep in the heart of Russian territory.