THE World Boxing Council ordered an interim championship match on Wednesday between their number one and number two ranked heavyweight contenders, former champions Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) from Russia and Haiti’s Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs).
“The free negotiations period begins today and if there is no agreement a purse bid will be conducted on Friday September 16th,” read a translated statement from the WBC. “The split will be 50% for each fighter. Clean boxing program VADA testing will be mandatory as well as the 10% bonus from the bid for the winner of the contest.”
The council’s announcement came shortly after the WBC released their ruling regarding the Russian’s failed drug test earlier this year, which resulted in the cancellation of his bout against champion Deontay Wilder.
The ruling vindicates Povetkin due to “the impossibility to scientifically prove that Mr. Povetkin ingested Meldonium after January 1 2016, and WADA’s Notice concerning Meldonium.” WADA added the athletic performance enhancer to its list of banned substances on the first of the year.
With Wilder sidelined until 2017, as a result of injuries sustained during his July defense against Chris Arreola, the Povetkin-Stiverne order aims to crown an interim champion that will eventually challenge Wilder for the full championship.
After years of Klitschko dominance, the state of the heavyweight division has been muddied in recent months, with Fury running off with the WBA, WBO, and IBF belts long held by Wladimir last fall, followed by Anthony Joshua’s defeat of Charles Martin for the vacant IBF title after the sanctioning body removed Fury as champion.
This recent order from the WBC aims to keep the green belt in the limelight while Wilder recovers.
Assuming the fight takes place, the winner of Povetkin-Stiverne will have a shot to snatch the title from Wilder before the American has an opportunity to unify against the winner of Fury-Klistchko 2, if it ever happens, or Anthony Joshua, assuming he continues his unbeaten streak.