Chagaev fires warning to Wilder

The unbeaten Wilder is set to make a mandatory defence of his title against Alexander Povetkin later this year – and Uzbek Chagaev is tipping the Russian to cause an upset.

With Chagaev defending his own world title against Francesco Pianeta in Germany on July 11, the 36-year-old is hopeful that he can avenge a 2011 points defeat to Povetkin in a possible unification bout next year.

“This will be a very good fight if it happens,” Chagaev told World Boxing News.

“I know from personal experience that Povetkin is very good – although I was not in shape when we fought and I hope that we will have a rematch at some point so I can show that I can beat him.

“Although he has always been on a very high level I think that he even improved in the last year. He looked very good in his last fights. Maybe the loss against Klitschko was an extra motivation for him.

“Wilder is strong, too. He will have to use his height and reach advantage if he wants to have a chance against Povetkin. But Povetkin is used to fighting and beating taller guys. I would pick Povetkin, but this fight could go either way.”

Wilder was most recently in action in June when he halted Eric Molina in the ninth round in Birmingham, Alabama. Chagaev, though, was unimpressed.

He said: “I don’t think that Molina is an outstanding contender so this win was nothing too special and didn’t really impress me. Wilder is a good boxer, powerful and technically skilled. But I think he should face better opponents.”

Much of the talk surrounding the heavyweights has involved Wilder, his long-time social media sparring partner Tyson Fury and rising British knockout artist Anthony Joshua, with Fury seemingly closest to securing a shot at the American.

Chagaev said of the Mancunian’s chances: “Tyson Fury is dangerous because of his size and funny style, but Wilder is very tall, too. Wilder is also technically the better boxer and has that one-punch power – so I would favour Wilder.”