POVETKIN KOs LATE SUB DUHAUPAS — Alexander Povetkin stopped Johann Duhaupas in the sixth round on Saturday, Dec. 17, at Ekaterinburg, Russia. Duhaupas, a citizen of France, was conveniently waiting in the shadows when Povetkin’s match with Bermane Stiverne fell out at the 11th hour. Povetkin and Stiverne were slated to fight for the WBC “interim” world heavyweight title with the winner becoming first in line to oppose “regular” champion Deontay Wilder who has been on the shelf with hand and bicep injuries suffered during his successful title defense against Chris Arreola this past July.
The Povetkin-Stiverne match evaporated with the announcement that the WBC was withdrawing their sanction. This action was taken following the revelation that Povetkin had tested positive for ostarine, a banned substance. Stiverne, a Haitian native who resides in Las Vegas, pulled out when informed of this development.
The six-foot-five, 35-year-old Duhaupas, now 34-4, had won two straight since suffering an 11th round knockout at the hands of the aforementioned Wilder in September of 2015. However, he was coming off a six-and-a-half month layoff and although purportedly in training, he clearly wasn’t in shape. It appeared that he also didn’t have all of his gear with him in Russia. He fought Povetkin in jogging shoes.
The end came near the end of the sixth frame when Povetkin caught the retreating Duhaupas with a three punch combination climaxed by a left hook to the jaw. It left the Frenchman flat on his back and briefly unconscious. With the win, the 37-year-old Povetkin, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist, advanced his record to 31-1 (23). His lone defeat came at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko in 2013. Povetkin lasted the distance, but was on the deck four times and lost lopsidedly.
This is the second time that Povetkin has tested positive for a banned substance. He was scheduled to fight Wilder with Wilder’s world heavyweight title at stake on May 21 of this year in Moscow. With the bout six days away, the match fell apart when it became known that Povetkin had tested positive for meldonium. Wilder was then preparing to fly to Russia from Sheffield, England where he had spent two weeks in training to better acclimate himself to the time difference. In the aftermath, Wilder’s promoter, Lou DiBella, sued Povetkin’s promoter, Andrey Ryabinski, seeking $5 million for lost wages, and Ryabinski counter-sued DiBella and Wilder for breach of contract.
The venerable Don King, Bermane Stiverne’s promoter, has weighed in, demanding that the WBC declare Stiverne the interim champion and the mandatory opponent for Deontay Wilder’s next title defense. “(Povetkin) has become a total embarrassment,” said King in a formal statement. “I don’t know what’s going on over there with so many Russian athletes in so many sports testing positive for drugs but it has to stop. They cannot be allowed to continue to do things the way they are.” Given his history, one can assume that King will litigate.
If the WBC complies, this would be a rematch. Stiverne was outpointed by Wilder on January 17 of last year. It was a drab fight in which Stiverne was widely out-scored, but there was something wrong with his metabolism that night. After the bout, he was hospitalized with severe dehydration. The Haitian remains the only man to last the distance with Wilder who will take a 37-0 record into his next assignment.
In an unrelated development, yet another fight on Saturday’s global menu was scuttled because of a drug-related complication. Former WBA and IBF world featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa was slated to return from a year-long layoff, opposing South African Malcolm Klassen. Their bout was on the undercard of a show featuring French-Cameroonian middleweight Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam vs. Alfonso Blanco at Reunion Island, a French protectorate in the Indian Ocean.
According to multiple sources, the bout fell out when police raided Klassen’s hotel room and found a good supply of performance-enhancing drugs. Klassen and his trainer were taken into custody. (N’Dam N’Jikam stopped his Venezuelan opponent in the opening round.)
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