BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Revenge is a dish best served cold. Or, in Dillian Whyte’s case, with some sledgehammer right hands before a pulverising and fight-finishing left hook.
The 32-year-old is back on the top table in the heavyweight division after regaining the WBC Interim world title at Gibraltar’s Europa Point Sports Complex on Saturday night.
Alexander Povetkin had managed to find one of the best one-punch finishes to turn around the original contest in August. A truly chilling knockout.
But the Russian never looked like he would repeat that feat last weekend. Only Povetkin can tell you whether his period in hospital with Covid was a factor in his legs looking wobbly – his balance an issue – just seconds into the rematch against a clearly motivated Whyte.
The Brixton boxer was in no mood to be denied.
It felt like only a question of when, not if, he would close the show. It came two minutes and 39 seconds into round four.
A big right sent Povetkin into reverse in the third round before Whyte unloaded a barrage of blows to send the 41-year-old to the canvas. Referee Victor Loughlin had rightly seen enough.
No sooner had Whyte helped tend to Povetkin, bringing over his own stool for the deposed champion to sit on, then he was weighing up his next move.
He mooted a potential July bout with Trevor ‘The Dream’ Bryan. The New Yorker is the WBA world champion. But this is where it all gets confusing – because that governing body has Anthony Joshua as their ‘Super’ champion. Not to mention a ‘Champion In Recess’ – Manuel Charr.
The proliferation of belt-holders has always been a teethgrinding frustration without the likes of the WBC and WBA, in particular, adding other iterations.
It might be good for increased sanctioning fees, but it only serves to muddy waters that were already very murky.
What Whyte has shown in recent years is that he is not prepared to sit back and wait for his shot at one of the marquee men – namely Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua. They have signed up to a two-fight deal that is only awaiting a date for the first one.
Whyte previously stayed busy against credible opponents as he failed to secure a crack at Deontay Wilder, who was then dethroned as WBC king by Fury in February 2020, with the platform of Sky Box Office boosting his earnings.
“There are some good fights out there,” said Whyte. “If the unfication fight [Fury-Joshua] happens, and I don’t get my shot, then I’ll be busy.
“Trevor Bryan would be a good fight. He just won the WBA regular world title, so we can dust off for that in July.
“If I can have two or three fights for the next few years then I might get to 40 wins and two losses – that’s a good career.”
Matchroom Boxing chief Eddie Hearn understands the heavyweight machinations better than nearly anybody with Joshua the A-list talent on his books ever since he switched over to the professional ranks following Olympic glory at London 2012.
“You kind of have to take it on the chin that your world title shot isn’t coming until early 2022,” said Hearn. “That [the Bryan fight] is an option. I prefer going for Deontay Wilder. I’d love to box Dillian in the summer, in America, and then in the winter against Deontay Wilder.
“He’s the boss. We’ll sit down with him and the team and decide what is next.
“People kept saying to me [before the Povetkin fight]: ‘What’s next if he wins?’ F*** that – just win. He has got the win and now he’s back in a great position.
“Dillian is a massive problem for any heavyweight. I’m not saying he isn’t vulnerable or that he isn’t beatable – but, at the same time, he can beat everybody. And he’s still improving and learning.
“It definitely wasn’t a lucky punch last August [by Povetkin] but he was getting bashed up and came through. He got bashed up again but he couldn’t find that punch this time.”
Whyte has avenged one of the two losses. At 32 he doesn’t need to rush into high-risk bouts but he has boxed at least twice in the three years before the Covid-19 pandemic.
The stakes were high against Povetkin.
“If I lost then all the sacrifices would have been for nothing,” said Whyte. “Thirteen years of training, and what for? It’s not a good place to be, in a position like that. If I had an Olympic gold medal or if I was a former world champion it would be easier for me to come back.
“I wasn’t happy because I didn’t knock him out in the first round. I could have, but I had to calm myself down – I had too much adrenaline and excitement.
“My plan was to manhandle him and start putting the smack on him early – that’s what I did.”
Main Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing
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