Stan takes charge in Moscow
South African referee Stan Christodoulou will be in charge when Guillermo Jones fights Denis Lebedev in Moscow this weekend.
The long-awaited title unification bout between Jones, the WBA cruiserweight “champion in recess”, and “regular champion” Lebedev could draw 7 000 spectators to the Crocus Circus Hall.
To many boxing enthusiasts, the referee will be as well known as the fighters.
Christodoulou, who will be 70 in January next year, has handled nearly 200 “world” title fights all over the world. He has been involved in boxing for half a century and has been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in New York.
Jones is from Colon in Panama and Lebedev hails from Chekov in Russia. The two are likely to provide excellent entertainment in a tournament that offers a heavyweight bout between Alexander Povetkin and Andrzej Wawrzyk as the co-feature.
A back injury has kept Jones out of the ring for 18 months but the 41-year-old is eager to enhance his professional record of 38-3-2, including 30 wins inside the distance.
He won the WBA belt when he stopped Firat Arslan in the tenth round and has retained it in defences against Valery Brudov, whom he stopped in the 11th and Michael Marrone, who lasted six rounds.
The 33-year-old Lebedev has a record of 25-1, with 19 wins inside the distance. He is regarded as the favourite after victories over James Toney in a fight for the interim belt and Santander Silgado in a bout for the regular belt.
His only defeat was on a split decision when he met Marco Huck for the WBO cruiserweight belt in December 2010.
The shorter, younger and more active Lebedev, a southpaw, may have to go 12 rounds to beat Jones, which will mean a
thorough workout for Christodoulou as well. The judges are Giuseppe Quartarone, Oliver Brien and Leszek Jankowiak.
Povetkin, undefeated after 25 fights and 17 knockouts, also comes from Chekov. He will make the fourth defence of his WBA “regular” heavyweight belt when he takes on Wawrzyk, who has not lost in 27 bouts, has won 13 inside the distance and hails from Krakow in Poland.
It is a must-win fight for the 33-year-old Povetkin, who is scheduled to challenge Wladimir Kilitschko, who holds the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles.
The 25-year-old Wawrzyk, who is ranked seventh by the WBA, has not fought at the same level as Povetkin, but he is a talented boxer and could surprise the champion and his supporters.