Russian heavyweight star Alexander Povetkin faces tough Cuban Mike Perez LIVE on BoxNation this Friday from 5.30pm in a Rainham Steel's Friday Fights special out of Moscow.

The winner is almost certainly set to face American knockout machine and reigning WBC World Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder later this year.

Here's 9 random facts about Povetkin you might not know, before he faces Perez.

Alexander Povetkin 2

1) As an amateur, Povetkin worked out alongside Russian president Vladimir Putin, a judo black belt, and they remain friends. Povetkin was defeated just seven times in 132 bouts in the unpaid code, and later avenged all of his losses!

2) Povetkin, known as the 'Russian Vityaz', is based in the town of Chekhov - named after the writer - in Moscow Oblast, Russia. Spiritually, he is a 'rodnover', following the faith of the ethnic Slavic people who worship Slavic deities.

3) Prior to embracing conventional pugilism, Povetkin's combative instincts were satisfied through kick-boxing. He won the world junior title in 1997, the world senior title in 1999 and the European title in 2000.

4) As an amateur boxer, Povetkin won a brace of European amateur titles (2002, 2004) plus the 2003 World Seniors in Bangkok. In 2004, he struck gold at the Athens Olympics, winning the final by walkover after his Egyptian opponent withdrew injured.

5) In June 2005, Alexander signed a professional contract with Berlin-based Sauerland Events. Though he continued to train in Russia, 20 of his first 25 fights took place in Germany (plus one in Finland). The other eight - including the last four - took place in his birth land.

6) The Russian has a reputation for changing his trainer about as frequently as he changes his socks. Thus far, Valery Belov, Teddy Atlas, Alexander Zimin (twice), Kostya Tsyzu, Stacey McKinley and Ivan Kirpa (present) have sat in the coach's saddle.

7) After just 30 months and 15 straight wins Povetkin secured the mandatory position to challenge Wladimir Klitschko after winning an IBF elimination series. However, he withdrew from the Klitschko spat, citing a lack of 'seasoning.'

8) When Klitschko was upgraded to WBA Super champion after his win over David Haye three and a half years later, Povetkin claimed the vacant 'regular' WBA belt by outpointing ex champ Ruslan Chagaev in Erfurt, Germany.

9) Povetkin became the highest paid Russian boxer in history ($5.8m) when he attempted to unify the heavyweight belts against Klitschko before 35,000 at Moscow's Olympic Stadium in October 2013. Alas, he was dropped four times and beaten for the only time of his 29 fight career, losing by 15 point margins on all cards.