Wladimir Klitschko currently is the WBA, IBF, IBO, and WBO Heavyweight Champion. His recent acquisition of the WBA title over the brash and unwilling opponent, David Haye, made grip on the division that much tighter. The only other champion is his older brother Vitali, the WBC champion, but that wasn’t good enough for the WBA. They declared Wlad a “super champion” and have now freed up the WBA “regular” title to be decided between former champion Ruslan Chagaev, 27-1-1, 17 KO’s, and Alexander Povetkin, 21-0, 15 KO’s, this Saturday in Germany.
Chagaev was the first man to defeat “The Russian Giant” Nikolay Valuev, taking the WBA heavyweight title in 2007. Medical problems would keep him from the ring and he would forfeit the title after two successful defenses. He would get a crack at Wladimir in 2009 and couldn’t find a way to the inside and was stopped in nine rounds, his only career loss.
Since the defeat, he’s won two bouts, a 12 round decision win over Kali Meehan, and a lackluster close decision win over journeyman Travis Walker. He has not scored a knockout since 2006.
Povetkin was on the verge of fighting Wladimir Klitschko, but twice the fight fell through. The second time, Teddy Atlas, the trainer of Povetkin, decided that his charge was not ready for a title shot yet.
Under the tutelage of Atlas, Povetkin has improved. He is showing some of Mike Tyson’s old moves, using the dipping left hook to get to his opponent. He has been feasting on a lot of journeymen of late, with his biggest win being over Eddie Chambers, a decision win in 2008.
Atlas trained a young Mike Tyson at one point, brought former light heavyweight champion, Michael Moorer to heavyweight gold, and now plans to bring Povetkin along the right way to a title and he is the favorite going into Saturday’s showdown. Povetkin could be ready for a shot at the Klitschko brothers or Tomasz Adamek, should he upset Vitali, after this fight.
On the undercard, there is a rising heavyweight by the name of Robert Helenius, 15-0, 10 KO’s, facing off against former WBO Heavyweight Champion, Sergei Liakhovich, 25-3, 16 KO’s, in a 12 round bout.
Helenius is large at 6 feet, 6 inches, and has beaten a couple of former champions in Lamon Brewster (KO-8) and Samuel Peter (KO-9). The Peter victory made an impression. He knocked “The Nigerian Nightmare” out cold with a vicious left hook. Helenius has stopped 9 of his last 10 opponents.
Liakhovich won the WBO Heavyweight title in 2006 with an upset decision win over Lamon Brewster. He would lose it in his first defense when he was knocked out by Shannon Briggs. He would immediately be launched into a WBA Title Eliminator and lose badly to Nikolay Valuev, losing every round on the scorecards. At 251 pounds, he was in no shape to fight Valuev in the first place.
Since the loss to Valuev, he put together two victories over mediocrities, but he was in shape. Liakhovich is a boxer/puncher, but his questionable chin is going to be what Helenius has in his mind.
Neither one of these matches will excite the American public, but the heavyweight division does not belong to the states anymore. Helenius seems to have the most potential of the four men in the co-main events in Germany, but Povetkin has been improving and could be the guy to take over where the Klitschkos leave off.