MOSCOW (AP) — The long-anticipated bout between WBA heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and Russia's Alexander Povetkin will be held in Moscow on Oct. 5, the boxers confirmed Monday.
Klitschko was first set to defend his heavyweight title against Povetkin three years ago but the contract for the fight was never finalized.
"We had a long story with Alexander and could have met earlier," Klitschko said at a news conference. "Alexander hasn't lost a fight and I'm looking forward to meeting him but in no case will I underestimate him. I'm sure he will do his best to win on the night of Oct. 5."
The WBA heavyweight belt became vacant when Klitschko was elevated to "super champion" status in 2011 after beating David Haye. Povetkin became the mandatory challenger for Klitschko when he beat American Hasim Rahman last September.
Earlier this year, the 37-year-old Klitschko improved to 60-3 when he beat Francesco Pianeta with his 52nd knockout, while the undefeated Povetkin, 33, has improved to 26-0 with his 18th knockout, stopping Polish challenger Andrzej Wawrzyk for his fourth successful defence of the "regular" title.
"I'm glad that this fight will finally take place," Povetkin said. "I'm looking forward to meeting Wladimir, the strongest boxer right now."
The bout is scheduled to be held at Moscow's indoor Olympic stadium.