Alexander Povetkin won an unanimous decision against American Eddie Chambers and set up a boxing title shot for the Russian Olympic heavyweight champion on Saturday.
Povetkin (15-0, 11 knockouts) took control over the final two rounds, where Chambers hardly got off a shot.
Chambers (30-1) won the first three rounds, tagging the Russian with left jabs and following with straight rights that snapped back his head.
But Povetkin, a huge hero in Russia, threw flurries of punches that began to slip through Chambers' gloves to climb back into the fight. He never let up on the pressure.
"I'm absolutely disappointed," Chambers said. "I didn't do what I set out to do, but he was very strong."
The judges ruled for Povetkin 117-111, 119-109 and 116-112.
He earned a fight against IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko, assuming the Ukrainian gets by WBO champion Sultan Ibragimov in their unification fight next month.
The 28-year-old Povetkin stopped former IBF and WBO champion Chris Byrd in his last fight in the elimination tournament, while the 25-year-old Chambers won a decision against Calvin Brock.
"This fight was harder, much harder than earlier, technically especially," said Povetkin, whose right eye was swollen. "It was a complicated fight."
In the ninth round, Chambers was back and stung Povetkin. But the Russian didn't leave him a chance in the final two rounds.
"Mentally, maybe, I lost my concentration," Chambers said. "A lot of it depends on my jab. My corner kept telling me to do it, but I couldn't get it right."
Povetkin has worked out with Russian President Vladimir Putin and was wanted by all of the world's top promoters when he turned pro.