Following his spectacular ninth round knockout victory over Artur Szpilka at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder(36-0, 35KO) could have to face his toughest opponent to date with his mandatory challenger, Alexander Povetkin(30-1, 22KO).
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman sent emails to both fighters promoters Wednesday night to announce the negotiation period for a bout between the two heavyweights had begun and if a deal can not be reached, then a purse bid would be held Feb. 26 at the WBC headquarters in Mexico City.
Wilder has received a fair amount of criticism lately regarding his opposition’s credibility including Saturday’s fight with Szpilka despite the fight being entertaining and competitive until Wilder’s right hand suddenly ended the night’s action.
Perhaps this criticism can explain why Wilder’s viewership numbers were down to an avg. of only 500,000 viewers compared to 1.24 million for his fight with Bermane Stiverne last January, in which he won the WBC belt by unanimous decision.
If fans are looking for a competitive matchup for Wilder, then the fight with Povetkin should not disappoint(at least on paper) and could prove to be a worthy test for a future big time showdown with lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Both Wilder and Povetkin have been on a collision course towards each other since Wilder became the WBC champion last year and after three voluntary defenses of his title, Wilder is ready to get in the ring with the number 1 contender.
“I’ve been waiting for Povetkin for a very long time, and I’m looking forward to him. I’m glad he was here to take notes. We all know styles make fights. I am very comfortable with him.” Wilder said after Saturday’s knockout victory. “My goal is to be undisputed champion of the world, and that’s my mission. He should take notes on everything.”
Povetkin, who was scouting the fighters ringside on Saturday, will likely have to fight in the United States for the first time in his career as Wilders team have been lobbying for the fight to take place stateside.
Lou DiBella, Wilder’s promoter, has already been in contact with Povetkin’s promoter, Andrey Ryabinsky, about the potential site of the fight and said they were willing to make a deal to have the fight held in the U.S.
“We started negotiating, and we’ll be talking again next week,” DiBella told ESPN.com.
Povetkin made it clear that he would have no problems fighting in the United States when he spoke to ESPN.com
“I always want to box the best, and it doesn’t matter which country, Russia or USA. It doesn’t matter to me.”
Povetkin may not have a problem with the location of the fight, but Wilder’s size and reach advantage can certainly give the hard-hitting Russian some problems.
Povetkin’s only career defeat was against Wladimir Klitschko, in 2013, who at 6ft 6in possesses a similar stature to that of Wilder at 6ft 7in.
In the Klitschko fight, Povetkin had a hard time getting close and dealing with Wladimir’s constant clinching. However, styles make fights and Nobody will ever confuse Deontay’s style for Wladimir’s.
Although Wilder doesn’t fight the same style as Klitschko, Povetkin does acknowledge that his size will be a challenge.