Sport can be cruel. Whether it’s conceding an injury time equaliser in a game you’ve dominated, or a leading horse falling at the final fence, injustice is a common hazard in physical competition. On Saturday night, Brixton heavyweight Dillian Whyte found this out in the most shocking of manners.
Having been the number one WBC world title challenger for over 1,000 days, Whyte finally looked to be on his way to his shot at the heavyweight title as Povetkin wearily climbed off the canvas twice in the fourth round. The WBC had informed promoter Eddie Hearn during fight week that if Whyte could come out on top against Povetkin, he could begin to prepare for a title shot against the winner of December’s trilogy fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.
Finally, after multiple risky fights against other fellow title contenders that he didn’t necessarily need to take, Whyte could plan for the future. A few minutes later, the plan was shattered.
The main event on the final evening of Matchroom’s Fight Camp started cagily, with Whyte looking much slender than in his previous fight, an uninspiring victory over Mariusz Wach. 20lbs down from that outing, Whyte used his jab to good effect in the opener.
In the second, ‘The Bodysnatcher’ started to live up to his name as he landed some heavy blows to his Russian opponent’s body. Whilst Povetkin wasn’t exactly unravelling, he was beginning to look all of his soon-to-be 41 years of age.
The body assault continued in the third round, with Povetkin also landing some heavy blows to the midriff. In the following round, the Russian twice found himself on the canvas.
Put down by a short left hook and then by a left uppercut, Povetkin managed to reach the end of the round. It seemed a matter of when, not if, Whyte would manage to finish off his opponent.
Then it happened. 1,000 days of being the mandatory challenger, ended by one of the most brutal one-punch knockouts seen in recent times. Povetkin tore up the script with an uppercut that threatened to take Whyte’s head clean off his shoulders and into the front room of Matchroom HQ. Four rounds of clever, controlled boxing by Whyte where he showed just how much he had improved as a fighter, were made futile by a concussive left hand.
So what does this do to the heavyweight picture? The WBC have stated that Povetkin winning doesn’t necessarily mean he is guaranteed to fight for the title like a Whyte victory would’ve. It’s also important to note that Whyte is likely to immediately trigger his rematch clause and we should see that fight by the end of this year.
Whyte’s defeat also moves up the timeline for the fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, provided they both beat their opponents later on this year. Accounting for a Dillian Whyte victory in his inevitable rematch, and it’s certain to be a lively 2021 for the British heavyweight scene.
Photo Credit: Essentially Sports