Dillian Whyte v Alexander Povetkin Five things we learned:
Why we love the Heavyweights – single punch knockouts have littered the history of the heavyweight division. Think, Rocky Marciano v Jersey Joe Walcott, Ali v Liston II, Weaver v Tate, Tyson v Spinks, Lewis v McCall and Rahman. All highlight reels of the division and in effect the history of boxing. In many cases a fighter has been way ahead and ‘BOOM’ a devastating one punch has detonated on the frontrunners chin and lights out. Saturday was one of those moments, albeit the main title didn’t change hands, but the suddenness and finality of that one left uppercut rendered the fight over for Dillian Whyte.
The waiting game can be painful – Over 1000 days the Brit was waiting for his world title shot. Some of it through no fault of his own, but the procrastination of the UKAD and delaying tactics of the WBC, the latter being in essence the ‘politrics’ of boxing. Over that time he’d faced some hardened contenders and many dark hours of self analysis. Then, one step from a world title fight (the WBC having guaranteed he would be next), Alexander Povetkin rips the script up. In boxing, waiting is a dangerous thing. A fighter’s peak has to be maximised when the time is right.
Povetkin is back in the fold – they say form is temporary and class permanent. The Russian looked damaged goods in Saudi Arabia last December, narrowly obtaining a draw against Michael Hunter on the Joshua-Ruiz II undercard. For four rounds on Saturday, though game, he’d been dropped twice and looked like there for the taking. Yet, even under severe pressure the former World and Olympic amateur champion found the opportunity to detonate a left uppercut whilst under fire and seal the deal. Alexander Povetkin is back in the heavyweight picture. He may be rapidly approaching 41 years old, but now back in the top ten and, Whyte knows he has to secure and win a rematch to move forward.
Matchroom Fight Camp was a success – COVID-19 and lockdown has presented many challenges in the last 5 months. The very existence of boxing as we know it has been threatened. But what originally was considered ‘pie in the sky’ thinking and a folly became a success with the Fight Camp. Good matches (Eggington v Cheeseman being the pick), good coverage by Sky, no contraventions of the hygiene restrictions and to cap it off a heavyweight title fight and result of world significance. Hats off to Matchroom Boxing.
Fury – Joshua is a step closer – with the Dillian Whyte WBC mandatory issue now put on the backburner for 2021 at least, there remains only two of three mandatory obligations to be met by the main protagonists. Joshua still has to meet his IBF mandatory contender Kubrat Pulev (new date pending) and possibly Olexandr Usyk for the WBO strap, although the latter is made easier by being allied to the Matchroom camp and the lesser of the four sanctioning titles, so a relinquishing is likely. Fury meanwhile has to successfully come through Deontay Wilder for a third third, contractually self-inflicted. So amidst the dust and bullets the two elite heavyweights are starting to emerge and the Brit-blockbuster looks a little closer. However, that is assuming the ‘BOOM’ is not heard over the next six months and we’re back to square one. In heavyweight boxing that’s a distinct possibility.