Moscow, July 2: Former World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin of Russia defeated Ukraine’s Andriy Rudenko by a 12-round unanimous decision and seized the WBO International and WBA Continental heavyweight titles.
The judges awarded the victory to 37-year-old Povetkin 120-109, 120-108, 120-108 at the Luzhniki Stadium here on Saturday night, reports Tass news agency.
“I would like to thank everyone for support, I need it. I knew that I have a strong opponent who will not give up easily. Something did not go the way it was planned to, but this is how we get our experience. This is good, because such opponents make me stronger,” Povetkin said.
“You should ask my manager about my future plans. We will keep going, fix our mistakes and grow stronger,” he added.
The bout was nearly stopped in the first round after Rudenko began complaining of a neck injury. He eventually agreed to box on following consultations with his doctors and the organisers.
Referee Viktor Panin said Rudenko wanted to withdraw in the first round.
“Rudenko wanted to withdraw in the first round, but I persuaded him to go on with the fight. There was nothing that would require his withdrawal, he had to keep on boxing,” Panin said.
On June 27, the World Boxing Association (WBA) and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) had officially exonerated Povetkin after a doping scandal and reinstated him into their ratings.
Earlier, the Wprld Boxing Council (WBC) and the International Boxing Federation (IBF) had suspended Povetkin from their ratings, whereas the WBO refused to return the prize fighter to its ranks after he had tested positive for banned substance ostarine.
The WBA did not comment on the incident, but Povetkin was not on its list.
The dope test was taken on December 6 last year before a match against Canada’s Bermane Stiverne for the title of interim WBC world champion that was eventually cancelled.
Prior to that, a bout between Povetkin and American boxer Deontay Wilder had been cancelled, because traces of meldonium had been found in the test.