Dillian Whyte had declared a desire for “war” and a vicious intent “to put the hurt” on his opponent, and ‘The Bodysnatcher’ from Brixton gained his revenge in Gibraltar as he routed Alexander Povetkin with a huge left hook to reclaim the WBC interim heavyweight championship.
So much was at stake at the special event on ‘The Rock’. It was a must-win fight for Whyte and, after being knocked out himself in the fifth round of their first encounter, he is now back in the heavyweight heights.
Whyte went to work with alacrity from the start, hurting Povetkin in the opening round as both men looked for concussive shots. Whyte out-jabbed Povetkin effectively round by round but there was a captivation and vulnerability about both men as the drama unfolded through three rounds. However, come the fourth stanza, Whyte secured his emphatic victory with a brutal blow.
Reclaiming the WBC title puts Whyte firmly in the frame to challenge the winner of Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua for the undisputed heavyweight title and he has been backed by his trainer, Harold Knight, to go to the very top. Knight, who once worked with former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, said: “Dillian can and will be a world champion.” It will certainly be a thrilling ride for the fighter once regarded as the bad boy of British boxing.
To his credit, Whyte showed great sportsmanship post-fight by carrying his own stool to Povetkin’s corner in concern for his rival. It was a mark of the man. So, too, the remarkable revelation that due to being in training camp in Portugal for 20 weeks across postponements for the Povetkin rematch, he is yet to hold his newborn son.
“My son’s four months and I’ve never seen him,” the 32-year-old told IFLtv. “I call every day. I’m a warrior, this is what warriors do.” It’s what Whyte does, and he is without doubt a warrior.
Promoter Eddie Hearn, overseeing proceedings in Gibraltar, later revealed that he will be undertaking a series of meetings this week around the world to discuss the Joshua-Fury mega-fight and disclosed that there is a slim chance Wembley Stadium could still host the contest if restrictions are lifted by the UK Government in time.
“I am going to the Middle East, the Far East and America to meet people. Around six meetings across four countries,” said Hearn. “Both June and July are in play but the Saudis and the Middle East would prefer the fight later in the year because it is so hot over there. But that’s not what’s on the table. We want two fights this year and the first one will be in the summer.”
On the consultations that he said are ongoing with the UK Government, Hearn added: “If Wembley can give us full capacity in the summer then it comes back into play. There are some conversations going on with the Government to see if that is an option. And, if that is an option, that will be presented to the fighters as well.”
Earlier on the card, walking in to Blue Moon and to a great reception from the crowd, Campbell Hatton, the 20-year-old son of British legend Ricky ‘Hitman’ Hatton, made his first professional walk to the ring against Jesus Ruiz, in a four-round lightweight contest. Twenty-four years after Ricky made his debut virtually anonymously at a Leisure Centre in Widnes, Campbell by contrast was in the media spotlight all week and living on a super yacht.
With his uncle Matthew Hatton in the corner, and father Ricky on the sidelines, ‘The Hurricane’ began with a wild opening round against journeyman Ruiz but went on to dominate the four rounds against the Spaniard. “The nerves got to me a bit, and I don’t think I boxed my best,” said Hatton. “Dead happy with my debut, though.”
Ricky Hatton looked emotional. “It was a very proud moment for the family,” he said. “There were nerves, excitement and bags of pride. It feels like only yesterday when I was starting out. There was a bit of pressure on the little fella’s shoulders, but I wouldn’t have let him box if I didn’t think he could handle it.”
Heavyweight Nick Webb rejuvenated his career with a stunning second-round knockout of former two-time Olympic boxer and world amateur bronze medallist Eric Pfeiffer. “I feel on top of the world,” said 33-year-old Webb. “The plan was to start fast, and get him out of there. We don’t get paid for overtime.”