Chambers, Povetkin Collide For Title Shot

By Francis Walker
Updated: January 21, 2008

GlovesNEW YORK — The final installment of the IBF heavyweight title elimination tournament will commence on Saturday. Unbeaten contenders, Eddie Chambers (30-0, 16 KOs) and Alexander Povetkin (14-0, 11 KOs), will fight to determine the No. 1-ranked contender for heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.

That’s if of course Klitschko surpasses the rugged unification challenge of unbeaten WBO champion Sultan Ibragimov in February. Chambers-Povetkin will be televised live on HBO Sports from the Tempodom in Berlin, Germany at 10 PM/EST.

The International Boxing Federation’s decision to come up with a heavyweight elimination tournament was simple. Klitschko has been so dominant, knocking out all three of his challengers since winning the IBF title in April 2006 in a second victory over Chris Byrd (KO 7).

There were no heavyweights available for Klitschko to fight. Either everyone else had other commitments or injuries. Therefore, the IBF invited Chambers, Povetkin, along with two of Klitschko’s previous KO victims Byrd and Calvin Brock with an opportunity to fight for a heavyweight championship.

After Saturday, only one fighter will have the right to challenge for the IBF heavyweight championship. “The major work has been done.” Chambers said in a recent statement. “I’ve worked hard to get into this position and I’m ready for it.”

Chambers, a 25-year-old from Philadelphia, was moving along carefully since he began his career in December 2000. Chambers, in the first bout the elimination series, dominated Brock in November with quick counterpunches and a solid defense. Brock couldn’t fit his gloves through Brock’s tight guard, but was his too often. Chambers won a 12-round unanimous decision.

Povetkin, an Athens Olympic gold medal winner in 2004, has made headlines in Germany. Povetkin has won numerous national and international championships as an amateur. Povetkin won more than 120 amateur bouts. Povetkin, in only his fourteenth professional bout, TKO’d Byrd in the eleventh round of the second bout of the tournament.

A knockout of Byrd is an impressive accomplishment considering Lennox Lewis vacated a world heavyweight title for his refusal to fight him. Vitali Klitschko dropped the WBO heavyweight crown to Byrd by quitting on his stool. Evander Holyfield didn’t have an answer for Byrd, nor did a prime and ripped David Tua.

However, Povetkin, 28, of Russia, was simply too strong for Byrd. A decision win is one thing, but for Povetkin to stop Byrd, a former WBO and IBF heavyweight champion, shocked a lot of people.

Byrd was recognized for having a very tough defense and was virtually difficult to hit. Byrd made a career out of making fighters look silly. Povetkin, at 6-feet-2, 225 pounds, is not nearly as big as the two previous men to have KO’d Byrd, Wladimir and Ike Ibeabuchi.

For Povetkin to stop Byrd was impressive.

Chambers, trained by his father Eddie Sr., has hired the services of former world welterweight champion Buddy McGirt. McGirt has done a wonderful job of helping to reconstruct the fighting styles of Paulie Malignaggi, Arturo Gatti, Antonio Tarver, Vernon Forrest, and Lamon Brewster.

It’s been a great privilege and honor to be asked to work with Eddie Sr. and his son on such an important fight,” Mc Girt recently stated. “Eddie has come a long way with his dad and I truly respect that. I sit back and watch, and when I see something that can help, I say it. We have great chemistry together.”

Chambers’ can beat Povetkin behind his speed and defense. Chambers has to move around and punch from different angles. Chambers cannot be flatfooted and exchange with Povetkin all fight. Chambers must be quicker to the draw than Povetkin and not get hit with too many big shots.

Povetkin can win by being aggressive and moving forward. Povetkin is recognized for his punching power and he must be accurate. Povetkin has to get inside and simply outwork Chambers. Povetkin must land often and consistently, especially to Chambers body.

In addition to airing Chambers-Povetkin, HBO will also rebroadcast Roy Jones’ unanimous 12-round decision victory over Felix Trinidad from Madison Square Garden last week.

The bout, featuring two of the biggest names in boxing during the last 15 years, was televised on HBO Pay-Per-View at a suggested retail of $49.99. Ticket prices ranged from $100 to $5,000. A reported 12,161 were in attendance.