Russian heavyweight Alexander Povetkin has lined up a potential fight with WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder after stopping Mariusz Wach in 12 rounds at the Basket-Hall Arena in Kazan, Russia.
The 36-year-old dominated proceedings from the outset and opened a cut above Wach’s eye in the 10th. Povetkin continued to target the gash, forcing referee Jay Nady to end proceedings in the final stanza.
The win means he maintains his position as Wilder’s mandatory challenger, though the American has been granted a voluntary defence before he must meet Povetkin.
Elsewhere on the bill WBA world cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev retained his title with an emphatic eighth round stoppage over Nigeria’s Lateef Kayode.
Despite some early showboating from the challenger, the Russian stuck to his boxing and looked the stronger of the two. Down in the seventh, things took a turn for Kayode though he claimed it was a slip.
His protestations proved moot in the next round when Lebedev dropped him again and began landing left hands at will after Kayode rose, prompting referee Steve Smoger to end the fight.
In another violent cruiserweight encounter, London-born Ola Afolabi knocked out former European champion Rakhim Chakhkiev in the fifth round.
The Russian favourite set off at a furious pace, charging into Afolabi resulting in several head clashes which caused a cut over Ola’s left eye.
In the fifth, Afolabi sent Chakhkiev reeling with a vicious right hand before finishing the job with a clubbing left hook.
In another cruiserweight upset, knockout specialist Dmitry Kudryashov suffered a serious setback when unknown Olanrewaju Durodola blasted him out in two rounds. Previously unbeaten in 18 – all finished inside the distance – the Russian was on the fast track to a title shot but Durodola’s potent rights halted his progression.