BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Dillian Whyte and Ted Cheeseman are both set to box next month – in a ring erected in promoter Eddie Hearn’s garden.
The Matchroom Boxing boss has been determined to put on shows despite fight fans not being allowed to attend.
And Hearn announced a schedule last week that will see him put on four events at his home in Brentwood, Essex.
Brixton heavyweight Whyte (27-1) will defend his WBC interim world title against Russia’s Alexander Povetkin (35-2-1) on August 22, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Bermondsey welterweight Chris Kongo (11-0) has been booked on the undercard as he challenges Luther Clay (13-1) for his WBO global strap.
Former British champion Ted Cheeseman (15-2-1) is on Hearn’s first fight card on August 1 – headlining as he faces Sam Eggington (28-6), who puts his IBF international super-welterweight belt on the line.
Whyte had been due to meet Povetkin in May but the coronavirus outbreak forced a postponement. The 32-year-old had set up training camp in Portugal before European countries went into lockdown.
“It’s great to see boxing back and professional fighters can start earning again and people can start watching sports again,” said Whyte. “The key thing is we’re heading in the right direction.
“It’s great I’ve got a date and I can focus a bit more.
“I’m expecting the best Povetkin there has been in a long time. If he loses this fight then where does he go? He knows what is at stake and that if he beats me he could be fighting for a world title in his next fight.”
Whyte is mandatory challenger for the WBC world title and champion Tyson Fury is supposed to make that defence in the opening few months of 2021.
But the South Londoner could face frustration as Fury is due to rematch Deontay Wilder – currently recovering from bicep surgery in April – with a two-fight unification showdown against Anthony Joshua expected to follow.
“He [Fury] would like to see me slip up a million times over [against Povetkin],” said Whyte. “He would probably fight Povetkin. Tyson Fury calls himself the Gypsy King, but I call him the Gypsy Coward.
“His team were talking about him being made franchise champion [by the WBC] but we have intervened and stopped all that. The WBC have come out and said there is no chance of them making him franchise champion. He has to fight me or vacate the belt.
“It would be a major fight. He would be fighting his mandatory, the number one – I ain’t lost in five years. I’ve beaten loads of top-10 contenders and two former world champions who are in their prime.
“I beat Oscar Rivas – who nobody wanted to fight. I beat Robert Helenius, who has just knocked out Adam Kownacki. I’ve beaten Dereck Chisora twice, what more can I do?”
Legendary American promoter Bob Arum – who represents Fury – has suggested that Whyte should face Oleksandr Usyk. The Ukrainian was undisputed cruiserweight champion but has moved up a division. He had signed to box Chisora before the pandemic.
“Bob Arum needs to shut up,” said Whyte. “The guy is a Hall of Famer and a nice guy – but he’s talking rubbish.
“He needs to have some respect for himself and me as well. I’ve earned my position and I’ve done everything there is for me to do, so have some manners and decorum.”
Bermondsey’s Cheeseman, 24, has not fought since losing his domestic crown on a unanimous decision to Scott Fitzgerald. He had a tough 2019 which also saw him lose widely on points to European champion Sergio Garcia.
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