Not only does Alexander Povetkin have a fight before the year ends, but that fight will put him one step closer to fighting for a world title.
Povetkin will fight WBO European heavyweight champion Christian Hammer. RCC Boxing Promotions executive director Alexei Titov announced the fight will take place on December 15 in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The winner of the fight will become the mandatory challenger to the WBO heavyweight title, currently held by Joseph Parker.
The announcement was made official at the WBO's annual convention. Erol Ceylan, Hammer's promoter, confirmed the fight and that the winner will become Parker's mandatory challenger.
"Unequivocally, this fight will determine the mandatory challenger for the WBO title. The winner of the fight will meet with Parker," Ceylan said.
This will be Povetkin's second fight of the year. He last fought in July, winning a unanimous decision over Andriy Rudenko. Povetkin last fought in Yekaterinburg last December when he fought Johann Duhaupas. Duhaupas was a last-minute substitution after Bermane Stiverne withdrew from the fight after it was revealed that Povetkin failed a drug test. That fight was for a vacant WBC heavyweight title.
Povetkin was given the green light by the WBA and WBO to challenge for their international titles earlier this year, but hasn't been considered for a world title fight. Povetkin also failed a drug test last year before an upcoming fight against Deontay Wilder.
Parker recently retained his title against Hughie Fury, thus leaving him without an opponent in the immediate future. Parker has drawn the interest from unified WBA and IBF champion Anthony Joshua and Wilder, the WBC champion, in the hopes a unification bout occurs in 2018.