Former world heavyweight title holder Alexander Povektin returns to action at the beginning of next month as the Russian bids to get his world title run back on track.
The 37 year-old takes to the ring opposite Ukrainian Andriy Rudenko following some uncertainly on his future due to being ousted from the number one spot with the WBC.
Povetkin has now seemingly missed out on a mandatory shot at Deontay Wilder, but could be ranked by one of the other organisations with victory over Rudenko in Moscow on July 1.
Just one bout in the last 20 months has had no bearing on the fighter, who says he feels in better shape now than he did when he was an up and coming contender – turning pro in a blaze of publicity as a 2004 Olympic gold medallist.
“I believe I have the right approach with a good team and I am sure I am better now than I was at 27,” Povetkin exclusively told World Boxing News.
“At the moment, I am not thinking of a world title in principle, just Rudenko and my task being to show impressive boxing.”
Asked what kind of challenge he expects from Rudenko, Povetkin, who has lost just once in his career to Wladimir Klitschko, added: “It’s not easy to say. I don’t know him well enough to say what way he will be boxing.
“On what style of fight he will choose, I saw in his interviews that he says it will be a bout of keeping distance, but it may be tactics and actually be vice versa. I am not sure but I am ready for everything he will bring.”
Rudenko, 33, has won seven in a row since losing back-to-back versus Lucas Browne and Hughie Fury, defeats which took the shine off a once-impressive undefeated record.
Now 31-2 with 19 KO’s, Rudenko is highly-rated with most of the organisations and has the opportunity to score a career-best scalp when he trades blows with the talented and wily Povetkin.
Also featuring on the Luzhniki bill is an interesting super-lightweight contest between former world champion Eduard Troyanovsky and Michele Di Rocco, plus undefeated prospects Valery Tretyakov, Sergey Lubkovich, Svetlana Kulakova, Evgeny Smirnov and Alexey Egorov are on the card.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay