Is Apti Davtaev Russia's next heavyweight hope?
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 05/03/19 6:20pm
Apti Davtaev has stormed to a 16-0 record so could he be the next major Russian force at heavyweight?
Davtaev has stopped all but one of his opponents. He stands at an imposing 6ft 6in and is still only 29 years old.
His promoter Dmitry Salita explains why Davtaev is a heavyweight to keep your eye on…
How did you discover him?
I was looking for opponents for Jarrell 'Big Baby' Miller many years ago. I noticed Davtaev and watched some videos of him. A fight with Miller didn't work out but I saw talent and potential.
He has a good record but wasn't known to the American market. But now he is rated among the top 10 heavyweight prospects.
Describe him as a fighter?
He is a big guy, 6ft 6in. He has power and size. For a big guy, he is athletic. He puts his punches together very well. He thinks well inside the ring.
He trains in America?
We brought him out to the Kronk gym where he trains with Javan "Sugar" Hill, the nephew of Emmanuel Steward.
He is in Detroit as we speak, getting ready to fight mid-April in Russia.
Davtaev is doing really well, sparring several times with Charles Martin. He has got a lot of potential.
What does 2019 hold for him?
This year he could have the opportunity to fight somebody in the top 10 or top 15, and he will make a name for himself.
He is one of the sleeping giants in this division… literally.
Dmitry Salita, Apti Davtaev's promoter
He is ready for a former champion in the top 15, somebody who would establish him. He will soon be 17-0 and he has the WBA Asian title. He has fought several fights scheduled for 10 rounds. He has trained in the United States so he is ready for the next step.
Someone like Lucas Browne, Charles Martin or Christian Hammer.
Then he will be ready for the top guys, but first he needs a bridge fight to get the experience and confidence.
The next level after is Dillian Whyte or Dominic Breazeale.
Alexander Povetkin has been Russia's top heavyweight for many years…
Povetkin and Davtaev do not have a personal relationship. Povetkin is a great fighter - he has fought and beat some of the best, and did a great job against Anthony Joshua.
At this time, Povetkin is the best Russian heavyweight. Davtaev has respect for him.
Povetkin is getting older. Time will do what time does. There will be a gap and a need for a Russian heavyweight and Davtaev will be that man.
How much does Russia desire a world heavyweight champion?
Every country is proud and the world heavyweight championship is one of the top prizes in sport. There would be good, positive emotions associated with this.
Watch Callum Johnson versus Sean Monaghan on the undercard for Dmitry Bivol against Joe Smith Jr on Sunday March 10, from 2am on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action.