BERLIN -- Alexander Povetkin won a unanimous decision
against American Eddie Chambers on Saturday, taking control in the
final two rounds.
Povetkin (15-0, 11 knockouts) earned a title fight against IBF
heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, assuming the Ukrainian gets by WBO
champion Sultan Ibragimov in their unification fight next month.
Chambers (30-1) won the first three rounds, tagging the Russian
with left jabs and following with straight rights that snapped back
But Povetkin, a huge hero in Russia, threw flurries of punches
that began to slip through Chambers' gloves to climb back into the
fight. He never let up on the pressure.
"I'm absolutely disappointed," Chambers said. "I didn't do
what I set out to do, but he was very strong."
The judges ruled for Povetkin 117-111, 119-109 and 116-112.
The 28-year-old Povetkin stopped former IBF and WBO champion
Chris Byrd in his last fight in the elimination tournament, and the
25-year-old Chambers won a decision against Calvin Brock on his
side of the bracket.
"This fight was harder, much harder than earlier, technically
especially," said Povetkin, whose right eye was swollen. "It was
a complicated fight."
Chambers couldn't get his jab working against the Russian in the
middle rounds as Povetkin's corner repeatedly told its fighter to
throw three-punch combinations.
In the ninth round, Chambers charged back into the fight by stinging Povetkin. But
the Russian didn't leave him a chance in the final two rounds.
"Mentally, maybe, I lost my concentration," Chambers said. "A
lot of it depends on my jab. My corner kept telling me to do it,
but I couldn't get it right."
While Chambers was raised in a rough Pittsburgh neighborhood and
turned professional at 18, Povetkin was going through the Russian
amateur school and put together a glittering career before fighting
He won the world title, as well as Athens gold, and finished
125-7 as an amateur with all his losses avenged. He also has worked
out with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and was wanted by all of the
world's top promoters when he turned pro.
While he considers Klitschko the best heavyweight in the world,
Povetkin had some defensive deficiencies exposed by Chambers.
"I will have to do a lot of work on myself before I fight
Wladimir Klitschko," he said.