by Johnny Walker
Russia’s Alexander Povetkin put himself firmly back in the midst of the heavyweight picture this afternoon, stopping contender Carlos Takam by highlight reel knockout in round ten of their Moscow bout.
Takam and Povetkin had fought an even battle through eight rounds, with both men having moments of joy. Povetkin scored effectively with hooks and uppercuts when he was able to work his way inside, while Takam, employing a shoulder-roll style defense, fared better when he kept the fight at a distance, using a flicking left jab and left hooks to the body to attack the Russian.
Povetkin (28-1, 20 KOs) finally turned the tide definitively in his favor in round nine, when he launched an attack of initially wild haymakers that missed the target. Perhaps Takam (30-2, 23 KOs) got too complacent, though, as Povetkin kept on swinging and finally connected with a vicious right-left combination, followed up by a right cross that crumpled the Cameroon native’s jaw.
Takam went down into the ropes and survived only because the round was at an end.
Povetkin wasn’t about to let this opportunity slip away, and resumed his assault in round ten. Takam tried to withstand the attack, but Povetkin scored with another withering right cross followed by a coup de grace left hook that sent his opponent to the mat, out cold. Referee Kenny Bayless immediately waved off the fight, and Alexander Povetkin was declared the winner and new WBC “Silver” heavyweight champion.
The win, his second KO victory since losing in an ugly 2013 title bout with world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, should put Povetkin in line for a bout with the winner of the fight between WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne and unbeaten challenger Deontay Wilder–should those two ever agree to terms and actually get in the ring.
In other notable fights on the undercard, Russian native Rakhim Chakhkiev (20-1, 15 KOs) stopped 45-year-old former cruiserweight champion Giacobbe Fragomeni, who was content to stay on the canvas when dropped by a shot behind the left ear in round four. Chakhkiev picks up the EBU cruiserweight title with the victory.
Also, heavyweight Manuel “Diamond Boy” Charr (27-2, 16 KOs), who lost his last fight to Alexander Povetkin by knockout, got back on the winning track with a victory over shot American veteran Michael Grant.
At 42 years of age, the 6′ 7″ tall giant Grant seemed to be punching in slow motion, and inexplicably kept leaning down into uppercuts from the Diamond Boy. Finally, after eating a number of power shots, Grant decided to stay on his stool as the bell for round six started — a wise move.
An even wiser move would be for Grant to hang ’em up before he gets badly hurt.