By Luke Furman
Former champion Alexander Povetkin could very well become the next opponent of cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk.
Usyk, who holds the WBC, WBO, WBA, IBF cruiserweight belts, is heading up to heavyweight – likely on May 18th in Chicago.
Povetkin last saw action when he was stopped in seven rounds by unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in September at Wembley Stadium in London.
It would not be Povetkin’s first dance with a cruiserweight.
Back in February of 2012, Povetkin came within a hair of suffering his first career defeat when then WBO champion Marco Huck moved up in weight to fight him – and nearly stopped the Russian boxer. There were some who even felt Huck had done enough to win.
World of Boxing CEO Andrei Ryabinsky, who promotes Povetkin, says the fight is very possible – but is certainly far from a done deal.
“So far I can say that such a fight is possible, but what I can’t say is that everything has been decided. This is a project, we are now thinking about organizing such a fight. However, there are several options [for Povetkin], including a fight against Usyk,” said Ryabinsky to Vasily Konov.
For Usyk, the fight is a natural for his heavyweight debut – to match himself against a boxer who was just defeated by Joshua. Usyk’s goal is to secure a showdown with Joshua, possibly by the end of 2019.
According to former WBA champion Fedor Chudinov, a win by Povetkin would skyrocket his career back in force.
“For Povetkin, if he defeats Usyk, this will be a great event [for Russia]. I don’t know what form Alexander is in now, but it would be interesting to see this fight. He would need a real technical plan [to beat Usyk]. However, against Usyk he must be more careful in defense, and then he will have stronger chances to show a good and spectacular fight,” said Chudinov.
“Usyk’s transition to heavyweight can affect his speed. When a boxer gains weight, he becomes slower. If he keeps his speed and mobility, good legs, then I don’t think he will feel the difference [of more weight]. Perhaps he will make the right move, by going to another weight division.”