Undefeated 2004 Olympic gold medal winner Alexander Povetkin (21-0, 15 KOs) faces the biggest challenge of his life on Saturday night when he challenges Ruslan Chagaev (27-1-1, 17 KOs) for the vacant WBA Heavyweight Title in Erfurt, Germany. Boxing-online.com has caught up with the 31-year-old Russian.
Q: Alexander, the big day is almost here, how are you feeling?
AP: “Very good. I am looking forward to the fight and the crowd in Erfurt.”
Q: Is that because you only have the best of memories of Erfurt?
AP: “Yes. Four years ago, I defeated Chris Byrd over there. The support from the crowd was fantastic. I will never forget that.”
Q: You will be facing Ruslan Chagaev. What do you think of him?
AP: “He is a great boxer and very experienced. He has won almost all of his fights and has already been world champion. And he is a fair sportsman. That is something I like. I have a lot of respect for him.”
Q: In today´s boxing world, it´s rather uncommon that somebody speaks nicely of his opponent…
AP: “No, not at all. I think that´s the way it should be. And don´t forget that Ruslan Chagaev handed Nikolai Valuev his first-ever loss. At that time Valuev seemed to be superior. It shows that Chagaev has a big heart and a lot of talent.”
Q: During the kick-off press conference, the journalists applauded when your co-manager Vlad Hrunov spoke about the mutual respect you and Chagaev shared for each other. What do you think about that?
AP: “I think that´s normal. After all, we are role models for a lot of young people. The sporting aspects should always be more important than business aspects.”
Q: But you will not exchange niceties when you meet in the ring?
AP: “No, of course we won´t. When we are in the ring, all that matters is the victory. We are both very keen to win.”
Q: How do you rate your chances?
AP: “It will be a tough fight between two opponents on the same level. I hope I will win. I have trained very hard. It will be an exciting fight which could go the distance but could also end early. We both have the power to knock each other out.”
Q: How has the preparation been going? You look very sharp.
AP: “I started with a lot of strength and conditioning training. In mid-June I was in Redbank, New Jersey to start preparing for this fight. I then did the sparring in my home city of Chekhov. Everything went according to plan.”
Q: Is has not always been like that. You had the chance to fight Wladimir Klitschko twice, but fight never materialized. What happened?
AP: “Before the first fight I tumbled over a tree root during the preparation and had to pull out due to injury. The second time we could not agree on the contracts. I also lost my father. That was a low of which I had to get out of.”
Q: Do you rue the missed chances?
AP: “No, maybe it was meant to be like this. I have put it behind me and only look ahead now. All that matters is the fight against Chagaev.”
Q: And then Klitschko? A victory would make you the champion, and with Wladimir being the WBA`s Super Champion, he at some point will have to face the regular champion…
AP: “I very much hope so. It would be my dream to fight against Wladimir Klitschko. But first things first. I need to beat Chagaev before making any future plans.”