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Wladimir Klitschko will make his 15th heavyweight championship defense when he faces Alexander Povetkin in a meeting of Olympic gold medal winners on Oct. 5 at the SC Olimpiyskiy arena in Moscow after their deal was finalized Tuesday.
"I'm very happy that this fight is finally made. The fans around the world are looking forward to this extravaganza between two Olympic champions," said Klitschko, the 1996 super heavyweight gold medalist for Ukraine. "This is the best fight in the heavyweight division and I'm thrilled that it will be staged in Moscow, where many Russian and Ukrainian fans have a chance to fill the arena. The atmosphere is going to be thrilling."
Povetkin, who holds a secondary world title and is one of Klitschko's mandatory challengers, won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics for Russia and will be fighting Klitschko in front of his home crowd.
When the fighters' camps could not negotiate an agreement for the fight, one of the biggest in the heavyweight division in years, it went to a purse bid in April, even though both fighters had interim title defenses to make before they would meet, which was highly unusual.
The purse bid was a stunner. Klitschko's K2 Promotions bid $7.13 million and Sauerland Event, Povetkin's promoter, bid $6,014,444. But Russian promoter Vladimir Hryunov made an extraordinary bid of $23,333,330, the third-biggest winning purse bid for a fight that most experts believe won't come even close to generating that kind of money.
Even with such massive purses at stake, Klitschko and Povetkin took their previously scheduled interim bouts and both won to keep their showdown alive.
Klitschko (60-3, 52 KOs), 37, blew through Francesco Pianeta, stopping him in the sixth round of a one-sided fight on May 4. Povetkin (26-0, 18 KOs), 33, turned in a similarly dominant performance on May 17, smashing Andrzej Wawrzyk en route to a third-round knockout.
Under the terms of the purse bid, Klitschko will receive 75 percent of the money, which translates to a career-high payday of $17,499,997, while Povetkin is due the remaining 25 percent, a career-best $5,833,333.
Although Hryunov, who doesn't promote either fighter but is close to Povetkin, won the rights to the fight to put him in total control of the promotion, it took a bit longer than usual to get the fight signed, because once he determined that he wanted to stage the bout past the sanctioning organization deadline, he had to negotiate terms other than the purse. There were disagreements over various aspects of the fight, including the drug testing protocol.
"We had long and intense negotiations but both sides were willing to find an agreement and now we can together present the fans around the world one of the best fights that can be made," said Bernd Boente, who manages Klitschko. "We were all waiting for this bout a long time but finally, here we go. Two gold medal winners, two heavyweight champions, two great athletes -- a dream fight."
Hrunov and business partner Andrej Ryabinsky worked for more than a month to get the terms ironed out but they are happy to finally have the fight set.
"A lot of time and effort went into this, but now finer details have been dealt with, agreements are signed and we are looking forward to October and the historic fight between these titans of boxing," Ryabinsky said. "We would like to thank our German partners for their cooperation and joint efforts."
Povetkin, who will be defending his secondary title for the fifth time, has twice before been the mandatory challenger for Klitschko, but the bout did not come off because Povetkin wound up pulling out, even after K2 Promotions won both of those purse bids.
Klitschko's 14 title defenses of his second title reign are third all-time in heavyweight history, putting him behind only legends Larry Holmes (20) and Joe Louis (25).
On Aug. 4, Klitschko will have held his title for seven years, three months and 13 days, passing Holmes into second-place all time in terms of length of heavyweight title reign. Holmes was champion for seven years, three months, 12 days. Louis has the longest heavyweight championship reign, 11 years, eight months, eight days.