Dillian Whyte saw his hopes of a money-spinning shot at Tyson Fury disappear as he was on the end of a brutal knockout at the hands of Alexander Povetkin.
Brixton’s Whyte put his WBC world interim title and also WBC Diamond belt on the line as he took on the Russian in the finale of Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex.
The South Londoner, 32, looked in control and on his way to a 28th professional victory as he knocked down Povetkin twice in the fourth round.
But Whyte was stopped 30 seconds into the fifth round as his opponent unleashed a monstrous left uppercut which dropped him heavily flat on to his back.
There was no need for the referee to finish the count. It ended a five-year unbeaten streak for Whyte, who has been the WBC’s mandatory challenger for more than 1,000 days – there finally seemed to be clarity on getting that shot as the governing body had ordered he get his crack by February 2021.
Now those plans are in ruins with the Brit set to rematch Povetkin. It also gives Fury more time – if needed – to complete his trilogy against Deontay Wilder without any fear of being stripped.
“We have a rematch clause and the first thing Dillian said when he came out of the ring was ‘get me that rematch’,” said Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn.
“It was a heavy knockdown and he’s going to have to take his rest. It is a very dangerous fight – because back-to-back defeats would throw a different shade to this.”
Whyte had shed 20 pounds from when he last boxed in his first outing since parting company with trainer Mark Tibbs, who had helped steer his charge to 11 straight victories since his only other reverse to Anthony Joshua.
No-one would have fancied Povetkin to produce the finish he did after touching down twice in the fourth round.
Instead he found one of the best one-punch finishes seen in recent years.
“I can’t quite believe it,” said Hearn. “When the punch landed I felt like I was in some dream – the fight was over.
“Dillian had scored two heavy knockdowns [in the fourth] and I felt it was over. This is the drama of the sport we love – one punch changes everything. Dillian Whyte had been in total control. Did he get complacent? I talked to Tony Bellew about that uppercut, that people felt he might be vulnerable to it.
“Dillian Whyte virtually had that fight in the bag – but this is top-class, elite heavyweights. It was a thrilling knockdown on a thrilling night.
“He will rematch Alexander Povetkin and I believe he will beat him in a rematch and get that number one position back.”
PICTURES: MARK ROBINSON/MATCHROOM BOXING
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