Usyk Not Interested in Facing Povetkin

Oleksandr Usyk has confirmed that while he was originally slated to fight Alexander Povetkin, he turned down the fight, attributing politics as the reason.

Usyk has planned to move up to heavyweight this year, and Povetkin was the originally targeted opponent. Both Usyk and Povetkin are former gold medalists, with Usyk winning gold at heavyweight in 2012 for Ukraine and Povetkin winning gold for Russia at super heavyweight in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The perspective home countries have had tense relations for the past few years, and Usyk feels a matchup between the pair will only do more harm.

“The promoters talked, talked to each other. I really don’t want to box with Alexander because it will be political, not athletic, and there will be mud being slung from both sides,” Usyk said.

The undefeated Usyk became undisputed cruiserweight champion by winning the division’s portion of the World Boxing Super Series last July, and he made a successful defense against Tony Bellew in November.

After Usyk’s rejection of Povetkin, he was slated to make his heavyweight debut against Carlos Takam last month but was forced out by injury. The bout against Takam is planned to still occur later this year.

Povetkin last fought in September, getting stopped in a failed title bid against then unified heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua. No next bout has been officially made for him, though rumors have circulated of a possible future fight with Dillian Whyte.

Original Story: BoxingScene

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