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Alexander Povetkin to honor Dillian Whyte rematch

Image: Alexander Povetkin to honor Dillian Whyte rematch

By Charles Brun:  Newly crowned interim WBC heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin reportedly plans on honoring his rematch clause with Dillian Whyte by facing him in his next fight.

According to Michael Benson, Povetkin’s representative Andrey Ryabinsky of World Of Boxing is interested in staging the rematch with Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs) in his home country of Russia, but he’s flexible.

Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing would like to have the rematch with Povetkin in front of fans. Still, he’s in a hurry to make the fight because he wants schedule in November in hopes of forcing a title shot for Dillian against WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in early 2021.

Whyte vs. Povetkin possible for November

Surprisingly, Hearn hasn’t given up on the idea of Whyte fighting Fury BEFORE IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua does. Hearn says he has to schedule the Whyte vs. Povetkin II rematch in November ahead of Fury’s trilogy match with Deontay Wilder, which is expected to take place in December.

Povetkin knocked out Whyte in the fifth round last Saturday night in an upset victory in the finale of the Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex. Whyte was expected to win, but the 40-year-old Povetkin (36-2-1, 25 KOs) landed the perfect left uppercut in the 5th round that separated Whyte from his senses, sending him crashing to the canvas for a knockout.

Afterward, Hearn looked solemn as he spoke to the media, sounding glum as he tried to make sense of what had happened to his fighter Dillian. However, it wasn’t long before Hearn boosted his sports and began talking once again about Whyte still having a chance of fighting for a world title in 2021 against Tyson Fury BEFORE Joshua faces him.

Image: Alexander Povetkin to honor Dillian Whyte rematch

It seems that Hearn badly wants/needs Whyte to fight Fury before Joshua does. Is it because Hearn is hoping Whyte will get lucky and beat Fury? That’s what some boxing fans feel, and Fury sees it the same way.

Hearn wants fans for Whyte-Povetkin 2

“We’re pushing now, and we’ve got to get fans back into the arena,” said Hearn to Boxing Social when asked when he plans on staging the second Whyte vs. Povetkin fight.

“One thing is for sure, the subject to a second spike [of the coronavirus], or whenever it might be, we’ll have fans back in the arena by November. It’s just how many.

“It’s a shame because I could sell out the O2 in nanoseconds today for Whyte-Povetkin. I feel like with all the drama the fight had behind closed doors, to bring that with all the hype and the expectations to fans in the arena, it would be fantastic.

“It would be so exciting for people to be able to buy tickets and come and watch that rematch because everything is on the line for Dillian Whyte.

“So that would be the benefit of staging the fight a little bit later in January or February, for example, but obviously, that would slow down the WBC process. I would love to bring fans in for Whyte-Povetkin 2, and I’m sure we’ll have some, even if it takes place a the end of November.

“Judging by the figures from the weekend, we’ll do 400,000 buys for a Whyte-Povetkin rematch or 350 [thousand]. It’s substantial numbers,” said Hearn.

Image: Alexander Povetkin to honor Dillian Whyte rematch

For there to be a chance for boxing fans to attend the rematch between Whyte and Povetkin, Hearn will need to push the fight back to the end of November and hope that crowds can return by then. If not, then they’ll have to go without.

Povetkin loses out by fighting Whyte without fans

For Povetkin, who doesn’t have any shot at fighting Tyson Fury in early 2021, it’s a terrible idea for him to rush back to face Whyte in November without fans. Since Povetkin has zero chance of fighting Fury, he’s better off facing Whyte in January or February when crowds are allowed to return.

The only reason Hearn is in such a hurry to get the rematch done with Dillian and Whyte in November is that he’s still hoping that he can press the World Boxing Council to let Whyte fight Fury in the first quarter of 2021 before he faces Joshua.

It’s a longshot at best for Hearn, but he’s still going to try and make that happen.

Povetkin’s promoter should try and get a better deal from Hearn in return for agreeing to fight Whyte in November because it’s a terrible situation for him.

If Povetkin is going to miss out on getting gate money because of Hearn being in a rush to schedule the rematch in November, it’s not worth it to take the fight then.

Image: Alexander Povetkin to honor Dillian Whyte rematch

Like I said if only Whyte has a small chance of facing Fury in early 2021 if he wins the rematch, then what does Povetkin have to gain by agreeing to fight him in November?

Joshua predicted Whyte would lose

“It wasn’t like ‘I told you so,'” said Hearn when asked what was Anthony Joshua’s thoughts on Whyte losing to Povetkin.

“I had a lot of conversations to him about the fight, and he was like, ‘Eddie, I’m telling you. This guy is dangerous. This is a dangerous, dangerous fight, and I think he’s [Povetkin] going to do it.’

That was the conversation. ‘If you put me on the spot, I would say Alexander Povetkin,’ that’s what he would have said. So when it happened, we were sitting here after the fight. He said, ‘I’m telling you, the guy [Povetkin] is a serious fighter.’

“I thought Dillian boxed well, to be honest with you,’ and so did AJ. With AJ, you’ll never find a lesser hater. Zero bitterness, and zero, ‘I told you so. Got you.’ You know that kind of thing.

“It was more like, ‘He’ll be back. He’s as tough as old boots. He’ll come back.’ He wants Dillian Whyte to come back. He wants to fight Dillian Whyte, and he wants a good reason to fight Dillian Whyte.

“The result [Whyte losing] was a surprise, but it was the way it came. That was the biggest surprise of all,” said Hearn.

The fact Joshua knew Whyte was going to lose is a pretty good hint that Dillian should steer clear of a rematch with Povetkin. If Dillian starts training camp in three weeks from now so that he can meet Hearn’s deadline of November, he might march into the ring half-stunned against Povetkin and get knocked for a loop once again. What happens then for Whyte?

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It’s no skin off of Hearn’s teeth, as he has a lot of other fighters in his Matchroom stable, but what happens with Whyte? In the same interview, Hearn mentioned that he might set-up a fight between Whyte and Daniel Dubois in 2021 if Dillian loses the rematch with Povetkin.

You have to wonder what Whyte would think about that idea. It sounds like Hearn would be feeding Whyte to the young lion Dubois in a cash-out fight.

Hearn believes Whyte fights for the world title in 2021

“2021,” said Hearn when asked when he believes Whyte will fight for a world title. “But he’s still got to win the rematch. All the focus now. I saw [Bob] Arum’s comments about Dillian, which I thought was.

“He’s entitled to say what he wants, but I thought it was a bit classless, to be honest with you. But Dillian didn’t overlook Alexander Povetkin like Joshua managed Andy Ruiz, in my opinion, in that first fight.

“I think he was focused on the undisputed fight [against then WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder]. But Dillian never focused on Tyson Fury. He gave it everything he can. He was in the best shape of his career. Zero excuses.

“It’s all well to say, ‘He was talking about Fury.’ he wasn’t. Now, we have to work behind the scenes to make sure when that shot comes [for Whyte].

“The focus for Dillian is to fight Alexander Povetkin because if he doesn’t beat Alexander Povetkin, then he’s in bad shape. But he might not. To me, it’s a 50-50 fight, the rematch.

Image: Alexander Povetkin to honor Dillian Whyte rematch

“You’ve got Povetkin, and he was hurt badly by Dillian. But also, Povetkin’s confidence is through the roof. He just cleaned him out.

“So the world championship shot is the one we’ve got to push for, but the focus is the rematch and getting that fight won,” said Hearn.

It sounds like a real pipe dream for Hearn to be thinking that Whyte fights for a world title in 2021. I think I speak for all boxing fans by saying that Hearn needs to wait until crowds come back before he schedules the rematch between Whyte and Povetkin.

There’s no chance at all of Whyte getting a title shot against Fury in early 2021, and it doesn’t matter if he beats Povetkin. It’s not happening.

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