Former titlist Bermane Stiverne is itching to get back the world title he lost to Deontay Wilder nearly two years ago. But in order for him to do that he must first take care of Alexander Povetkin in a vacant interim title fight on Dec. 17. The winner of Povetkin-Stiverne will be named Wilder’s mandatory challenger once he returns from a hand injury — expected to be in early 2017. Speaking on the fight, Stiverne tells ESPN:
“I’ve got a great opportunity with this fight to get back what I had,” Stiverne said. “Deontay Wilder has my belt. He beat me on my worst night. All I want is the chance to win the world title again and (WBC president) Mauricio (Sulaiman) and the WBC say I have to go through Alexander Povetkin and that’s what I’m going to do on Dec. 17.”
Stiverne will have to travel behind enemy lines though, as this fight with Povetkin will take place in Ekaterinburg, Russia. But Stiverne says that he’s completely unconcerned with where the fight is being held since to him a ring is just a ring.
“I’ve fought everywhere and a ring is a ring, no issue at all going to Russia,” Stiverne said. “I’ll be well prepared for victory over Povetkin on Dec. 17th and then it’s onto Wilder.”
One minor distraction Stiverne will have to deal with leading into the fight is his recently failed drug test where he tested positive for banned substance methylhexaneamine, supposedly contained in a dietary supplement called “Superharm”which he took in front of a sample collector. Yup, the poetic irony is astounding...
But despite the failed test the WBC ruled that the interim title fight would go on, giving Stiverne the benefit of the doubt since he’s never tested positive in the past while adding that there was no evidence he ingested the substance knowingly.
Obviously Stiverne’s opponent in Povetkin is also no stranger to failed drug tests. Povektin tested positive for banned substance meldonium earlier this year which scrapped his mandatory title shot against Deontay Wilder. But for that failed test the WBC ultimately gave Povetkin a bit of a pass because the amount found in his system was well below the threshold accepted by WADA.
Now both Povetkin and Stiverne will fight to see who gets the next crack at the WBC heavyweight title.