Dillian Whyte encountered a lot to finally put the demons of an infamous night in Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom HQ garden to one side and gain sweet revenge over Alexander Povetkin in Gibraltar on Saturday night.
Seven months on from a stunning fifth round loss, Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) regained his position as the man in waiting behind WBC champion, Tyson Fury, pummelling Povetkin in four one-sided rounds and producing a vintage stoppage in front of the 500 fans in attendance at the Europa Point Sports Complex.
Whyte revealed post-fight that he had sacrificed spending time with his four-month old son to prepare himself for the must-win rematch in a gruelling Portugal training camp, having endured two prior postponements.
Povektin (36-3-1, 25 KOs) lacked the sharpness and rhythm he showed in glimpses in the first meeting, hurt by almost every shot with some suggestions he hadn’t fully recovered from his bout with Covid-19, which led to the cancellation of the scheduled November fight.
Regardless of this and the fact that the former WBA heavyweight champion is 41-years-old, Whyte deservedly regained the WBC interim crown, nullifying Povetkin’s attacks, controlling the Russian from range with his jab, slipping his punches and connecting with spiteful blows, coupled with controlled aggression.
‘The Body Snatcher’, who added former Lennox Lewis trainer Harold ‘Shadow’ Knight to his team alongside head coach Xavier Miller, was criticised for failing to close the show when he had ‘Sasha’ down twice in the fourth round of the first outing.
Yet, he left nothing to chance this time around ending proceedings with a left hook that sunk Povetkin to the canvas, after he was drilled to the ropes from a straight right hand and then struck with a follow-up right hand.
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Referee Victor Loughlin had already waved the clash off, as Povetkin bravely rose to his feet prior to his corner throwing in the towel and rather than an ecstatic celebration, Whyte graciously brought a stool over, after sensing his rival was unsteady on his feet.
An immediate world title shot seems unlikely with unified champion, Anthony Joshua and Fury set to meet over two fights, so who could the 32-year-old now face in the meantime, as he eyes a summer dance partner?
Alexander Povetkin trilogy
With the scores now level at one apiece, Whyte admitted he would open to a rubber match with Povetkin.
“I’m ready to run it back again if he wants it again, that’s how I feel,” Whyte told Sky Sports post-fight.
“If he wants the rematch, if they offer Eddie Hearn the right money, I will fight again, because I shouldn’t have lost the first time.”
Some may feel with such a devastating end to the second fight and with the Russian turning 42-years-old in September, that the chapter may have closed despite a victory for each and that Father Time is now calling.
However, with the Brixton man unlikely to receive a shot at the world heavyweight title, a decider could be an option with Whyte also keen to return to Gibraltar for another fight.
All with depend on the desire Povetkin has left to continue and whether he is physically able to endure another training camp for a fight he’ll head in as the underdog again or if he will look towards pastures new following a successful near 16-year career, where he only has losses to Wladimir Klitschko, Anthony Joshua and now Whyte.
Promoter Eddie Hearn outlined his ambitions to stage a fight for his charge in America this summer and Whyte called for a meeting with WBA ‘Regular’ champion, Trevor Bryan in the aftermath
Bryan, who is undefeated in 21 fights claimed the vacant crown, once held by David Haye with an 11th round stoppage of Bermane Stiverne in January, after original opponent and champion, Manuel Charr was unable to secure a visa into the USA, with the 36-year-old subsequently stripped.
It remains unclear at this point what the WBA’s requirements will be for Bryan (21-0, 15 KOs), whether they will bring Charr back into the equation or if he’ll have a mandatory to negate.
However, a clash with Whyte would likely be his most lucrative option and an opportunity to build his profile against one of the most prominent heavyweights.
“I’ll fight him for it. It’s a big fight,” Whyte told Behind The Gloves.
“I’d knock him out and take the belt.”
A fight between Whyte and former WBC heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder has been continuously mooted since 2018 and it appears the fight could be closer than ever to materialising.
Whyte called for a long-awaited showdown when the Alabama man held the WBC title, spending over 1000 days as WBC number one contender and a period as mandatory challenger, before Fury relieved him of his green and gold belt in ruthless fashion in their rematch in February 2020.
A contracted trilogy failed to occur, with Fury’s team claiming that the period for a third fight had passed a notion Wilder’s team rejected and subsequently took their case to mediation, proceeded by binding arbitration to settle the dispute.
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It is unclear the result of this, as Fury and Joshua press ahead towards an undisputed clash, but if Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) is unsuccessful with his bid to secure a trilogy with the ‘Gypsy King’ then an eagerly-anticipated match-up with Whyte, either in a stadium in the UK or in the USA would be intriguing.
Despite the sole loss, the 35-year-old remains a dangerous threat as a result of his freakish, one-punch power, capable of knocking out any heavyweight.
There appears to be genuine animosity between the pair and the build-up alone would generate a huge audience and major commercial interest.
Wilder announced his interest in a fight with the Brit in an interview with Brian Custer of the Last Stand Podcast, although promoter Eddie Hearn has suggested that it could be more suitable for later in the year, describing it as a “colossal” fight.
Andy Ruiz Jr
Andy Ruiz Jr is another clash that has been mentioned in what has the all the makings of a barn-burner.
Former unified heavyweight champion, Ruiz Jr (33-2, 22 KOs) finally returns to action for the first time since losing his belts to Anthony Joshua in their rematch in December 2019 against Chris Arreola on May 1.
‘The Destroyer’ seems to have trimmed the 20st he weighed in against Joshua in Saudi Arabia, as he looks to reignite his career under Eddy Reynoso’s stewardship.
If the 30-year-old overcomes the former three-time world title challenger and look good in doing so, then a fight with Whyte could be on the cards.
The pair have exchanged words over social media in the past and Ruiz Jr had no sympathy for his rival after his loss to Povetkin.
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If the Mexican-American can display the attributes that saw him dethrone Joshua in one of the biggest heavyweight upsets of all-time in June 2019, then a fight with Whyte could be a scintillating affair and a genuine 50-50 contest.