The Russian boxers continue their dominance as Alex Povetkin stopped Chris Byrd in the eleventh round with a solid performance. Povetkin, now 14-0, proved to be a better fighter than a male model as he put a pretty good beat down on the affable Byrd who must now think about retirement or moving to Cruiserweight.
Povetkin pressed the action and kept coming forward, continuing to throw punches at a very good rate at a Chris Byrd who was in survival mode until an 11th round TKO stoppage by towel-throwing. Byrd looked particularly vulnerable when he got caught pinned the ropes or trapped in a corner, and started fading just as Povetkin picked up the tempo.
This fight completes one half of the International Boxing Federation Heavyweight Title Elimination Tournament. Brock and Chambers will decide who fights the resident of Tschechow, Russia.
With Chagaev, Klitschko, Maskaev, and Ibragimov already claiming belts and Lyakhovich, Denis Boytsov, and Valuev lurking, the fighters from countries formerly known as the Soviet Union are making a hugh statement in the heavyweight division. Povetkin has now added his name to the list.
As well, Roman Karmazin and Dimitri “Baby” Kirilov have made their mark in the lighter divisions. Keep your eyes on Aleksei Tishchenko as perhaps another rising star. Of course, Victor Oganov was exposed by Fulgencio Zúñiga, but aside from that, the Russians keep coming, eastsideboxing.com reports.
Povetkin, 28, next faces the winner between Eddie Chambers and Calvin Brock, who fight in Tacoma, Washington on Nov. 2. The survivor of that eliminator meets Ukrainian Klitschko for the title.
The Russian said he was less interested in Klitschko than his apprehensions before Saturday's fight about how he would fare against the 37-year-old Byrd, a boxer he grew up admiring.
"For me, the victory was just to prove something for myself," Povetkin said. "Even as a youth I was enthusiastic about the way he moved."
Byrd (40-4-1) couldn't get off the ropes during many of the early rounds, and though they traded shots, Povetkin clearly was handing out more punishment than the light-hitting American, whose last knockout dates back to 2002.
After the sixth round, Byrd's 13-year-old son Justin implored in the corner, "don't lay in there," to which his father replied "easier said than done."
Byrd said he had no intention of retiring after his loss to Povetkin, which follows two losses to Klitschko that cost him his WBO and IBF titles.
"I've got to lose to an American before I retire," Byrd said. "But he (Povetkin) is a good one, he will win the title. I won two titles, so I'm not jealous."
The fight, though still fast, slowed down after the sixth round as Povetkin learned some lessons against his toughest opponent yet, the AP reports.
"He is a very good defensive fighter. It didn't make sense for me to keep throwing punches like that," Povetkin said of the torrid early pace.