Alexander Povetkin (16-0, 12 KOs), mandatory challenger of IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, will take a final warm-up fight on April 4 when he faces Jason Estrada (15-1, 3 KOs) in Dusseldorf. The 29-year-old was scheduled to fight Klitschko in December 2008 but an ankle injury forced him to postpone the hotly anticipated showdown. The IBF ruled that their meeting has to take place before September 13, 2009. “This time frame allows us to give Alexander a tough fight so that he can keep his rhythm,” Sauerland Event general manager Chris Meyer said. “By picking Jason Estrada we have chosen a strong opponent. But that is exactly what Alexander had asked us to do because easy fights do not help him at all.”
The White Lion, who is unbeaten in 16 fights, is widely considered the favourite to end the Klitschkos’ heavyweight hegemony. A former European and World Amateur Champion as well as an Olympic gold medal winner, Povetkin is determined to continue his winning streak as a professional. “I am very happy that I have recovered from my injury. I look forward to returning to the ring in April,” he stated. “I take the fight against Jason Estrada very seriously because there is a lot at stake. But I will win this fight and I will show that I am ready for Klitschko.”
Povetkin earned the right to challenge the IBF heavyweight champion by winning a four-way elimination tournament in which he defeated Chris Byrd and Eddie Chambers. Together with Valeri Belov, he is preparing in Russia. “I will be in top shape on April 4,” he stated.