Dillian Whyte is back in the world heavyweight title race after taking revenge on Alexander Povetkin with a TKO victory in the fourth round on Saturday.
Whyte regained the provisional WBC title after crushing Povetkin with a left hook at the Europa Point sports complex in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory at the southern tip of Spain.
Povetkin knocked out Whyte last August, but he couldn’t repeat the feat as he was beaten for the third time as a professional. His other two losses came on points against Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA, IBF and WBO titles in 2013 and by stoppage against Anthony Joshua for the same belts three years ago.
While Povetkin may be considering retirement, Whyte has given his career much needed boost. However, with rival world champions Tyson Fury (WBC) and Joshua (WBA, IBF, WBO) in advanced talks on a two-fight deal, Whyte’s wait for a first world title will continue for some time.
“If he wants a rematch and it’s the right money, I’m going to fight him again because I shouldn’t have lost the first time around – I’m annoyed against me,” Whyte said of Povetkin. .
“From the first round I went with him and then I thought I had to relax and not explode. He only lost to Klitschko and Joshua – it shows how good he is. I can beat anyone.
It was a dangerous and inescapable fight for Whyte. Povetkin may be 41, but in recent years he has proven that his power still makes him one of the most important heavyweights in boxing. Last August, Povetkin (36-3-1, 25 KOs) recovered from two knockdowns in the fourth round to eliminate Whyte with a left uppercut in the fifth.
Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs), 32, simply couldn’t afford a third career loss, having also been stopped by Joshua in 2015. The loss to Povektin cost Whyte the top spot in the row waiting for a WBC title, and he dropped out at No. 6 in that governing body’s ranking. The other three governing bodies don’t even rank Whyte in their top 10.
Saturday’s win repairs damage to Whyte’s career last summer after beating the most experienced of heavyweight contenders.
“Tonight it was about getting his career back on track, and he showed tonight that he was not going to be denied. We’re back where we wanted to be and the goal remains the same – getting Dillian a shot at the world title, ”said Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, who expects Whyte to fight back. new this summer.
Whyte, who moved from Jamaica to London at the age of 12, let go of his hands in the first round and Povetkin was sent staggering two shots before recovering quickly.
Povektin, who had tested positive for COVID-19 which delayed the rematch from November, saw a different side to Whyte in the second, as the Londoner patiently boxed his jab.
Whyte injured Povetkin with a right in the third round, and the English boxer came out swinging in the fourth. Later in the fourth, Whyte made Povetkin tremble with a brace, and when the Russian tripped in the ring, Whyte pounced with a right hook and a left hook. Povetin hit the canvas, and when he got up on his unsteady legs, the fight was stirred.
Afterwards, Whyte went to get a stool for the dizzy Povetkin to sit on before celebrating in front of a limited crowd of 500 due to coronavirus restrictions.
On the under-card, Campbell Hatton – son of former two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton – made a successful professional debut with a 40-36 point victory over Spain’s Jesus Ruiz (0-11). Hatton, 20, attacked the body like his father used to do, and he won each round in a lightweight four-round bout.
“I don’t think I boxed my best. I think my nerves hit me; it can only get better next time, ”said Hatton.
Ted Cheeseman (17-2-1, 10 KOs) won the British super welterweight title with a dramatic finish in an 11th round victory over James Metcalf (21-1, 13 KOs).
Cheeseman, a Londoner nicknamed ‘The Big Cheese’, landed a barrage of shots and finished Metcalf with a left hook to the jaw at the end of the 11th.
England heavyweight Fabio Wardley (11-0, 10 KOs), coached by Ricky Hatton, clinched a fifth round knockout victory over 38-year-old Texan Eric Molina (27-7, 19 KOs). Molina, who was stopped by Joshua and Deontay Wilder in the world title shots in 2016 and 2015, respectively, was doing well until Wardley, 26, kicked off the ropes with great effect.