By Elliot Foster (@FreelanceFoz)
Alexander Povetkin is now the mandatory challenger for the world title.
The 35-year-old Russian, who took just 91 seconds to oust Mike Pérez in a defence of his Silver title, has gained the number one spot and is now next in line to face Deontay Wilder for the WBC title.
Povetkin, who was outpointed by Wladimir Klitschko in a world title challenge 17 months ago in his sole loss to date, produced an A-level performance at the Palace of Sports in Luzhniki, Moscow, live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky channel 437/HD 490, Virgin channel 546 and TalkTalk channel 525).
After a 17-minute and 40-second intro to the main event, it didn’t take Povetkin long to get into his groove.
It was a right hand inside the first minute which started the attack and that was followed by another shot of the same ilk. From that, the Irish-based Cuban was on the seat of his pants.
Pérez then rose under the guidance of referee Massimo Barrovecchio but the fight was over after Povetkin threw yet another right hand.
In the chief support contest, Russian cruiserweight Grigory Drozd retained his WBC title in his home country.
The 35-year-old, whose sole defeat was to Firat Arslan in a WBA title eliminator in 2006, worked over late replacement Lukasz Janik before English referee Ian-John Lewis dived between the pair midway through round nine.
Elsewhere, knockout artist Dmitry Kudryashov stopped his 18th successive opponent and is now unbeaten in as many contests.
Despite failing to look as spectacular as in previous outings, the 29-year-old disposed of Vikapita Meroro inside six rounds, flooring his man twice in what proved to be the final round with a right hand and a peach of a left hook to the body which ended the contest.
And Rakhim Chakhkiev ended the challenge of Junior Anthony Wright with the same shot to win the vacant IBO cruiserweight title, stopping his late notice opponent in eight sessions.
Meanwhile, Manuel Charr soundly outpointed Alex Leapai on the bill in a battle of former world title challengers.
Charr, who was stopped inside four rounds by Vitali Klitschko in 2012 when he challenged for the WBC heavyweight title, took all three scorecards (98-94, 100-90 and 97-92) against the man who was stopped in five by Vitali’s brother Wladimir.
The 30-year-old Lebanon-born German, who has been stopped twice in his three defeats, is now sure to have his phone ring as he could prove the perfect opponent for a David Price or an Anthony Joshua down the line.
Light heavyweight prospect Dmitry Bivol extended his undefeated run to three fights with a stoppage of Joey Vegas inside four rounds.
Bivol, 24, put his man down twice with power shots in the third round en-route to a third consecutive stoppage after 70 seconds of the following stanza after he unleashed a smashing left uppercut.
Next, it is believed the Kyrgyzstan-born Russian will make his American debut.
Finally, Ramzan Baysarov kicked off his paid career with a one-sided four-round points win over Andrey Polyakov, who was down in the first round and has yet to win a fight in eight.
Svetlana Kulakova WPTS10 Marie Riederer