Drama and disappointment for Dillian Whyte here at ‘Matchroom Square Garden’ at Fight Camp 4 with the heavyweight’s world title aspirations blown away when the Brixton fighter was stunningly knocked out by Russian Alexander Povetkin in a spectacular fifth round turnaround.
The shocked silence was in contrast to a fight in which the Briton had looked comfortable and in control, outboxing the former Olympic champion, and having hurt his foe already with body shots.
Whyte, indeed, defending his WBC Interim title had had Povetkin down twice in the fourth round, the second with a brilliant left uppercut, before he was finished himself by piece of clever artistry which saw Povetkin dip to the left inside and deliver a peach of a left up the middle which left Whyte felled. He was out cold before all 18st of heavyweight hit the ground. They say heavyweight boxing is about knockouts, and the manner of this curtain falling on the event evidenced that with brutal clarity.
“It was a shock, and Dillian almost had that fight in the bag,” said promoter Eddie Hearn afterwards. “There is a rematch clause and the first thing Dillian said to me afterwards is ‘get me the rematch’. We will be exercising that rematch clause and getting the fight on later this year. I do believe Dillian can come back and avenge defeat.”
It was always a risky fight, and Whyte – not to mention Hearn – knew it, but they gambled and the anticipated world title contest up next against the winner of the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder trilogy fight has evaporated for now. What must stick in the craw for Whyte is that he has laid claim to a world title challenge for the last one thousand days as either the WBC’s No 1 challenger or more recently, mandatory challenger.
This was the fourth and last of the ‘Matchroom Square Garden’ series over the last month on the 15-acre site of Matchroom Sport, in Brentwood, Essex. Whyte second career defeat was watched by British heavyweight rival and triple world title belt holder Anthony Joshua, looking lean and fit who explained that he “ready to go” while working as a member of the Sky Box Office presentation team. Whyte will be bitterly disappointed by the outcome, but as he explained to Telegraph Sport this week, he has been a risk taker since growing up in poverty as a child in Kingston, Jamaica. But being a battler, a warrior, is in the 33-year-old, who will dust himself off and come back stronger. “It is what it is, we’ll do it again,” said Whyte.
“That’s heavyweight boxing.” Some things will never change. The survival instinct of ‘The Bodysnatcher’ from Brixton is one of them.