Povetkin in line to face Joshua

Veteran Russian Alexander Povetkin has put himself in line to face Anthony Joshua after winning a world heavyweight title eliminator.

Povetkin is now the mandatory challenger for Joshua’s WBA ‘Super’ belt after beating Christian Hammer by a unanimous decision in Russia on Friday night.

Joshua claimed the title with his victory over Wladimir Klitschko earlier this year, but if he wants to keep it, he will have to face Povetkin who hasn’t held a world title since 2013.

Victory also puts the 38-year-old in the same position with the WBO, which could see him face champion Joseph Parker. However, after previously failing two drugs tests, the WBC have closed the door on any further title opportunities.

Romanian opponent Hammer offered little resistance to Povetkin in south west Russia. Hammer was content to sit behind his guard and was even docked a point by the referee for holding.

Povetkin took the verdict after the judges scored the bout 120-107, 120-108, 118-108.