Friday, January 8, 2010

Atlas and Povetkin in Heavyweight Title Hunt

World renowned trainer Teddy Atlas has been working with Russian-born heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin since July. Although the two have had only one fight together, a third-round knockout win over Leo Nolan last month, Atlas can see the potential in his young charge.

“I was happy with the Nolan fight,” Atlas said. “What was good about it was that he stopped a guy that had never been stopped before. Nolan had twenty-eight fights and he had never been knocked down before, so yeah, I was happy with his performance.”

The Povetkin-Nolan fight took place in Germany and not many US boxing fans saw the fight. In the end, Povetkin had Nolan up against the ropes and he landed a beautiful right uppercut and a sharp left hook to the chin that put his challenger down. The referee and Nolan’s cornerman essentially waived the fight off simultaneously.

“Nolan knew how to box,” said Atlas. “So Alexander did a good job, in front of a lot of people. He had been inactive for a while so I was impressed with the result that he got.”

The 30-year-old Povetkin, currently 18-0, 13KOs, is on course for a title shot. Atlas was brought in as a hired gun to prepare the Russian to not only fight for the heavyweight title - but win it.

“We’ve been working on a number of things since we’ve been together, strategy," explains Atlas. "By the time gets in the ring he knows exactly what he wants to do. Defense is important and a lot of times a good defense can help to create some offensive openings for us, too. We want to make things happen in a fight in a responsible way.”

Povetkin is rated #1 by the IBF, #2 by the WBO and #3 by the WBC. He is on the brink of a title shot in 2010 would be in line to meet the winner of the upcoming Wladmir Klitschko-Eddie Chambers bout.

Atlas didn’t say that Povetkin was ready for a run at the heavyweight title as of today, but he did say, “When the time comes - he’ll be ready.”

Atlas is currently preparing to kick off another busy season of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights that will see him endure a grueling travel schedule that will take have him crisscross the country week after week for the next 9 or 10 months. The next fight for Povetkin has not yet been announced.

“Right now, we’re just focusing on making him the best fighter he can be and to make him a more complete fighter everyday that we work together," Atlas said.

January 2010

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