• Boxing

Doubts over Chagaev push Haye towards Povetkin

ESPN staff
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Alexander Povetkin beat Chris Byrd in 2007 © Getty Images
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David Haye's next defence of the WBA heavyweight title looks set to be against Alexander Povetkin - and not mandatory challenger Ruslan Chagaev.

Reports suggest that Chagaev, who has been diagnosed with Hepatitis B, will be prevented from fighting in England by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) on medical grounds.

If he is forbidden from taking to the ring against Haye on May 21, the Brit will turn to Povetkin, who is currently ranked second by the WBA.

Although Haye's next bout will inevitably carry an underwhelming air following his failure to agree a clash with one of the Klitschkos, Povetkin represents a step up in quality from those he has faced since claiming the WBA strap.

The 31-year-old, an Olympic champion in 2004, carries an unbeaten record since turning pro, with wins against Chris Byrd and Eddie Chambers on his CV - and his promoter Kalle Sauerland has confirmed Povetkin would be keen to face Haye.

"Haye versus Chagaev would be a massive fight, probably the fight of the year in the heavyweight division," Sauerland said. "But it is not up to us. It´s a matter of the BBBoC and the WBA to see whether Chagaev will be able to fight Haye. If not, Povetkin is ready to step in. He is fit, willing and able and more than qualified."

Boxrec reports that "positive negotiations" are currently taking place between the Haye and Povetkin camps.

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