‘What better way to win title than KO?’ – Bermane Stiverne talks Povetkin plan (RT SPORT VIDEO)
The fighter nicknamed ‘B.WARE’ said that his plan to KO Povetkin is “nothing personal,” but he would rather not let the fight go to a decision in the Russian’s ‘“backyard.”
“Yes I do [plan to win by KO]. I have to. I can’t come all the way here and let the judge make my decision - I gotta have my own decision,” Stiverne told RT Sport after the Moscow press conference for the fight.
“When I say I’m gonna knock him out, it’s not any disrespect thing or I’m trying to trash talk, this is what I believe and this is what I trained for. Anybody who would come here and try and get a decision in his [Povetkin’s] backyard would be a fool to believe that.
“It’s the same thing if he came to my home, he has to try to knock me out. And what better way to win a title [than by] knockout!” the 38-year-old added.
Haitian-born Stiverne also said that he is not fazed by having to come “all the way” to Russia for the fight, and that acclimatizing to the Russian winter has posed no problems for him.
“I’m used to it, I lived in Canada, in Montreal. It’s the same kind of weather, probably colder here because when it’s cold there it’s like January/February, it’s very cold like minus 30, but it’s nothing I’ve never seen before.”
Stiverne is a former standout on the Canadian national amateur boxing team and a former WBC champion, having won the belt in 2014 before surrendering it in his first defense against American Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder, a loss he blamed on dehydration.
The fight against Povetkin for the interim belt will give the winner mandatory contender status to Wilder’s title, and Stiverne claims the chance to become a two-time world champion is a huge added incentive to win the fight.
“This is my main focus now I get to be a two-time heavyweight champ so it’s a great motivation. It’s a good motivation also the fact that I have to travel all the way here to Russia, you know, I have a lot of Russian friends so they are always telling me about Russia and I get to come here to fight, so I love it,” he said.
“All it is just a good motivation and I believe when we get over there it’s gonna be a great show and to please the fans and please boxing.
“The heavyweight division is exciting. It was quiet for a little bit of time, but now it’s back in action and is back where it used to be and I’m happy to be a part of it or in the mix.”
Stiverne has known of Povetkin since the two boxed for their respective countries in the amateur ranks, although they never actually boxed each other and the matchup between the two as professionals is of considerable intrigue to fans.
Povetkin is also a former world heavyweight champ. He won the WBA version of the title in 2011 and defended it four times before challenging Wladimir Klitschko for the lineal heavyweight championship, but was on the wrong end of a lopsided points decision, being knocked down four times in their 2013 fight in Moscow.
It remains Povetkin’s only defeat, and since then he has racked up a total of four big knockout wins over world-ranked opposition, picking up the WBC International and WBC Silver heavyweight belts to land himself a shot at the interim world title.
But despite their impressive experience, the two have been out of action for over a year - Stiverne since his November 2015 points victory over Derric Rossy and Povetkin since his 12th-round stoppage win over Mariusz Wach in the same month.
Povetkin had been scheduled to fight Deontay Wilder for the title in in Moscow in May, but that fight fell through when the Russian tested positive for meldonium in the run-up to the bout.
The WBC later cleared Povetkin in the doping case, opting not to ban him because of “the impossibility to scientifically prove that Mr. Povetkin ingested meldonium after January 1, 2016,” when the drug was included on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s list of forbidden substances.
They instead ordered Povetkin to undergo self-funded testing for the next 12 months, with another failed test in that time frame seeing the fighter “indefinitely” suspended from all events organized by the WBC, the organization said in a statement.