Born on September 2, 1979 in Kursk, Russia, Povetkin is an experienced boxer with a record of 34-1, formerly holding the WBA ‘regular’ heavyweight strap from 2011-2013.
His career as a fighter began in kickboxing where in June 2000 Povetkin won the European championships, five months later the Russian won his first major boxing tournament at the Russian championships at the age of 21.
Povetkin enjoyed a successful amateur boxing career at super-heavyweight, winning gold medals in 2002 and 2004 at the European Championships, in the 2003 World championships and most notably at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
After his 125–7 amateur career finished, Povetkin turned professional in 2005 making his debut on June 11 stopping German Muhammad Ali Durmaz in the second round.
Povetkin would pick up notable wins over Larry Donald, Chris Byrd and Eddie Chambers along the way to his first shot at a version of the world title when he fought Ruslan Chagaev for the WBA ‘regular’ title.
On August 27 2011 Povetkin beat Chagaev via unanimous decision to claim the WBA title. He would successfully defend the title five times with wins against Cedric Boswell, Marco Huck, Hasim Rahman and Andrzej Wawrzyk over a two-year period.
On October 5 2013 Povetkin would face the biggest test of his career as he took on Wladimir Klitschko, challenging for the WBA Super, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles. Klitschko would dominate the fight inside the Olympic Indoor Arena, Moscow, Russia, dropping Povetkin four times, three of them coming in the seventh round, handing the Russian his first and only professional defeat so far.
Povetkin would return to winning ways in his next fight with a knockout over Manuel Charr in May 2014, four months later he would stop future Joshua opponent Carlos Takam, winning the WBC Silver heavyweight title.
Mike Perez and Mariusz Wach were next to suffer knockout defeats at the hands of Povetkin which set up a WBC world title fight with Deontay Wilder, slated for Moscow on May 21 in 2016, however the fight would not materialise. Following a failed drug test for the banned substance meldonium, the fight was off, with Wilder instead facing, and beating Chris Arreola.
Povetkin wouldn’t give up his chase of the Wilder’s belt and pursued an interim title fight with former WBC titlist Bermane Stiverne, however, the fight was plagued from the start. Initially it was Stiverne who failed a drug test for methylhexaneamine, known as dimethylamylamine or ‘DMAA’, despite this the fight would still take place with the former champion receiving just a $75,000 fine.
Extraordinarily 20 hours prior to the fight taking place the WBC withdrew their sanctioning of the fight after Povetkin, for the second fight in a row, failed another drugs test, this time for ostarine, subsequently Stiverne pulled out of the fight following the governing body’s withdrawal.
Following the Stiverne pull-out Povetkin defeated Johann Duhaupas on December 17, via sixth round stoppage, this was the last fight before the Russian was fined and suspended by the WBC for the failed test, his initial life ban from the organisation was lifted in December 2017.
Povetkin would return to the ring in July 2017 beating Andriy Rudenko for the WBA Continental and WBO International heavyweight titles, he would defend the belts successfully against Christian Hammer in December the same year.
On March 31 Povetkin fought for the first time in the UK, boxing David Price on the undercard of Joshua’s WBO title winning performance against Joseph Parker.
Povetkin dropped Price in round three before almost being stopped himself in the same session suffering a standing count, however, the fight was concluded in round five.
After this win the WBA ruled Povetkin as the mandatory for Joshua, leaving the Brit with three options – fight the Russian, get stripped or schedule a unification bout with Wilder. But this is boxing, Wilder will have to wait, so Povetkin it is.