MOSCOW -- Unbeaten Alexander Povetkin retained his WBA heavyweight belt Friday night, stopping Polish challenger Andrzej Wawrzyk in the third round for his fourth successful title defence.
The 33-year-old Russian improved to 26-0 with his 18th knockout, flooring Wawrzyk in the second round and again in the third with a right to the head. The referee allowed Wawrzyk to continue before stopping the bout with 31 seconds left in the round.
"We didn't plan to win by a TKO," Povetkin said.
Povetkin, who outpointed Ruslan Chagaev in August 2011 for the then-vacant title, will face WBA "super champion" Wladimir Klitschko on Oct. 5 in Moscow.
"Alexander has proved that now he can face Klitschko," said Kostya Tszyu, Povetkin's coach. "Time has come for two former Olympic champions to face each other in a very interesting bout."
Povetkin won the super heavyweight gold medal at the 2004 Athens Games, while Klitschko topped the same division at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Klitschko's older brother, Vitali, was at the fight Friday and said he was cheering for Povetkin.
'It's really perfect that Alexander has won today," Vitali said. "Because the bout between Wladimir and Alexander had been announced, but without Poventkin's victory today it could have been only an illusion."
Wawrzyk dropped to 27-1.