Alexander Povetkin Wins Wide Ten-Round UD Over A Game Nicolai Firtha, Improves To 21-0(15)

By James Slater: Moments ago in Berlin, Germany - on the under-card of the upcoming Marco Huch-Denis Lebedev WBO cruiserweight title clash - unbeaten Russian heavyweight hope Alexander Povetkin won a near shut out of a ten-round unanimous decision over Ohio’s Nicolai “Stone Man” Firtha. The 31-year-old Olympic gold medallist, trained by Teddy Atlas, hurt his right hand in the 2nd-round of the fight, yet managed to pretty much remain in control all the way.

Now 21-0(15), Povetkin won by scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92. Firtha, who had been stopped three times previously, is now 19-8-1(8).

Povetkin many get criticised by some fans for failing to KO a guy who has been halted by the likes of Tye Fields, but Atlas’ plan going in seemed to be to get his fighter as much experience as possible. Practicing certain things during a fight in which the opponent is throwing leather, Povetkin is putting pro rounds under his belt. Of course, the hand injury wasn’t part of the plan, and the lack of a stoppage was surely down to this. Povetkin was very aggressive early on, and it looked like he might have stopped Firtha, but the possibly broken hand made the Russian a one-handed fighter for the majority of the contest.

And though tonight’s fight was one-sided on the cards, Firtha was game throughout and he was aggressive. A big guy at 6’6” and over 240-pounds, Firtha may or may not have further prepared Povetkin for his eventual shot at Wladimir Klitschko.

Some people say Povetkin has actually regressed in recent fights, with the Jan. 2008 points win over “Fast” Eddie Chambers being the last time the contender really shone. Povetkin has now won six in a row since that IBF title elimination bout, and he has stopped four of these six opponents. Not bad going, but the fans want more from a would be heavyweight champion.

Let’s see if Povetkin chooses to take more experience-builders in 2011, or if he actually goes in with Klitschko. Can Povetkin beat “Dr. Steel Hammer” if he does fight him? Will Povetkin, all 6’2” and approx 225-pounds of him, ever be ready for that fight?

Also on tonight’s card: Yoan Pablo Hernandez won his WBA cruiserweight title fight eliminator in a bizarre fight. The 26-year-old Cuban stopped Ali Ismailov of Ukraine in the 1st-round, when a right hand sent the 36-year-old through the ropes. The time of the referee’s stoppage was just 2.23-seconds of the opening round. Hernandez is now 23-1(12). Ismailov falls to 18-4-1(13).

Also of note, is the fact that unbeaten Bulgarian heavyweight Kubrat Pulev advanced to 10-0(5) by way of a clear eight-round UD over the experienced Paolo Vidov of Italy. Winning by shut out scores of 80-72 (X3), the 29-year-old has made great progress considering he has been a pro only since September of last year. 40-year-old Vidoz is now 26-10(15).

Article posted on 19.12.2010

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