Byrd's father throws in towel after furious fight against Povetkin

Updated: October 27, 2007, 7:53 PM ET
Associated Press

ERFURT, Germany -- Unbeaten Russian Alexander Povetkin pounded Chris Byrd until the American's father threw in the towel in the 11th round Saturday night.

The 2004 Olympic champion took a step toward fighting world champion Wladimir Klitschko, winning the bloody IBF elimination fight in which Byrd's white trunks were smeared in blood from both fighter's cuts.

I've got to lose to an American before I retire. But he [Povetkin] is a good one, he will win the title. I won two titles, so I'm not jealous.

-- Chris Byrd

Povetkin had the fight wrapped up when Byrd's father, Joe, threw in the towel with 1:52 gone in the round to stop his son from taking any more punishment.

The two fighters, who possess both hand speed and a variety of punches, threw punches at a rate rarely seen in a heavyweight fight. The sixth round was so fierce, the crowd broke into wild cheers.

Povetkin (14-0, 11 knockouts), touted as a future champion, faced his toughest test yet against the two-time world champion, who lost the IBF title to Wladimir Klitschko in April 2006.

"The fight was tough, very tough. He was very experienced," Povetkin said. "I couldn't land my blows the way I wanted."

But the Russian threw so many punches that a lot landed, although Byrd also tagged him with lefts.

Povetkin will face the winner of the Nov. 2 a fight between Eddie Chambers and Calvin Brock. The survivor will then meet Klitschko for the title.

But the 28-year-old Russian said he was less interested in Klitschko than how he would fare against the 37-year-old Byrd, a fighter he grew up admiring.

"For me, the victory was just to prove something for myself," Povetkin said. "Even as a youth I was enthusiastic about the way he moved."

Byrd couldn't get off the ropes during many of the early rounds, and though they traded shots, Povetkin clearly was handing out more punishment than the light-hitting American, whose last knockout dates back to 2002.

After the sixth round, Byrd's 13-year-old son, Justin, implored in the corner, "Don't lay in there," and his father replied "Easier said than done."

Byrd said he had no intention of retiring after his loss to the Russian followed Klitschko -- a Ukrainian -- beating him twice and taking away his WBO as well as IBF title.

"I've got to lose to an American before I retire," Byrd said. "But he [Povetkin] is a good one, he will win the title. I won two titles, so I'm not jealous."

The fight, though still fast, slowed down after the sixth as Povetkin learned some lessons against his toughest opponent yet.

"He is a very good defensive fighter. It didn't make sense for me to keep throwing punches like that," the Russian said of the torrid early pace.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press