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30 Dec, 2008 19:31

Russian heavyweights punching to world glory

The heavyweight title fight between Russian Nikolay Valuev and Evander Holyfield is being investigated.

Valuev retained his WBA crown against the American earlier this month with a majority points decision.

But the World Boxing Association is now looking at tapes of the bout to see if Holyfield should have been awarded victory. The outcome of the review is expected within weeks.

The Russian giant Valuev – nicknamed “The Beast from the East” – fought 51 professional fights in his career and triumphed in all but one.

The WBA champ defended his title three times, before losing it to Ruslan Chagaev in 2007.

But Valuev regained it in the summer of 2008 against John Ruiz.

In his latest defence he won on points against the former undisputed champion of the world, Evander Holyfield.

The result was contested by Holyfield and it looks like the WBA is listening to his pleas and could reconsider the decision while Valuev is ready for a rematch.

Aleksander Povetkin, aka the Russian Knight, is another heavyweight getting used to the spotlight.

The 2004 Olympic champion started his pro-career in 2005.

Since then he's won all of his 16 bouts including 12 by knockout.

2008 was supposed to herald the breakthrough of his professional career but an injury cut him short of a shot at the IBF title, currently held by Ukrainian Vladimir Klitchko.

This much anticipated stand-off between the two former Olympic champions has been put off until sometime in 2009, but before that fight takes place, Povetkin should enter the ring at least once to weigh up his readiness.

“I’ve dreamt of boxing against Holyfield, but he is scheduled to fight against Nikolay Valuyev, so it's probably not possible. I don’t have any specific wishes. I only want my opponents to be good boxers,” he says.

He was dismissive of some of his previous opponents, like American Taurus Sykes who he beat in a one-sided mismatch inside four rounds in Moscow during the year.

“I don’t want my fights to go the way it went with Sykes. All that preparation and training had been in vain. I gained no experience from that fight. He might be a good boxer, but he just didn’t seem to have the spirit to fight,” says Povetkin.

The Klitchko corner was noble in their understanding of the situation due to his injury, and agreed to the postponement of the IBF heavyweight title fight.

Povetkin's manager Vladimir Khryunov hopes the Ukrainian hegemony in the super-heavyweight world will end in 2009.

“We are in negotiations now, but I can say that Aleksander Povetkin is one of the least desired opponents for Vladimir Klitschko. Povetkin is still Vladimir’s mandatory opponent. We want the fight to take place in Russia, so Russian fans can watch the showdown between two Olympic champions. We had no doubts that Povetkin will win. Right now I'd just like to wish a happy New Year to everyone, including the Klitschko team, and wish them an early retirement next year,” Khryunov says.

The Russian Knight is not the only fighter under Vladimir Kryunov's management.

Also in his stable is cruiserweight world title hopeful Denis Lebedev.

He is coached by the same man as Povetkin and has also won all of his 16 professional bouts.

In the latest, he knocked out the Belarussian Dmitry Adamovich.

Although he is not yet widely known, Lebedev and his management hope to get a world title shot in 2009.