In his first fight with Alexander Povetkin, Dillian Whyte's failure to finish his opponent despite multiple knockdowns in the fourth round was his undoing. In the rematch on Saturday evening in Gibraltar, Whyte again had Povetkin hurt in the fourth round, but this time he closed the show with a spectacular knockout to regain the interim WBC heavyweight championship.
When the two met in 2020, Povetkin rose from two fourth-round knockdowns to score a stunning upset knockout in the fifth. Whyte was sharper in the rematch, working off a strong jab that Povetkin could not manage to avoid from the opening bell. Those jabs opened up heavy right hands from Whyte that had Povetkin consistently on the defensive.
Povetkin, who battled COVID-19 late in the year, spent much of the fight unsteady on his feet, appearing to have trouble with his footwork throughout the fight and being stumbled repeatedly.
Whyte landed solid power shots in every round, but in Round 3, he appeared close to taking out Povetkin as several overhand rights landed flush. Povetkin did not appear to have recovered well between rounds and looked on the verge of going down throughout the round before a right hand stumbled him back into the ropes.
Whyte poured on the pressure until Povetkin crumbled to the canvas. He rose to beat the 10 count, but was on unsteady legs, leading the referee to stop the fight as Povetkin's corner threw in the towel at the 2:39 mark of Round 4.
"I'm ready to run it again if he wants it again," Whyte said after the fight. "If he wants a rematch, if there's the right money, I'll run it again. I shouldn't have lost the first time. I'm just annoyed. The first time I shouldn't have lost."
Asked who he wanted to fight next, Whyte asked his promoter, Eddie Hearn, to give him an easy fight to make good money. Hearn didn't seem opposed to a quick turnaround, but said the ultimate goals included a big fight with former world champion Deontay Wilder and an eventual world championship bout.
"For me, we called for the Deontay Wilder fight for a long, long time," Hearn said. "He actually DMed and said I'll never give you that fight. Now he's calling for that fight. To me, that's a stadium fight. I'd like to get him back out again quickly in the summer. But the goal has always been to get Dillian Whyte a world title."
Before his stunning KO loss to Povetkin in the first fight, Whyte had been the WBC mandatory challenger for more than 1,000 days. Now, again with the interim championship, he's in position to eventually get the opportunity he has been waiting for.
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Fight card, results
- Dillian Whyte (c) def. Alexander Povetkin via fourth-round TKO
- Fabio Wardley def. Eric Molina via fifth-round knockout
- Ted Cheeseman def. James Metcalf via 11th-round knockout
- Nick Webb def. Erik Pfeifer via second-round TKO
- Campbell Hatton def. Jesus Ruiz via unanimous decision (40-36, 40-36, 40-36)
- Michael McKinson def. Chris Kongo via unanimous decision (95-94, 96-94, 97-93)
Povetkin vs. Whyte scorecard, live coverage