Hearn talks Povetkin vs. Whyte 2 & Avanesyan vs. Kelly
By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn is going to find out soon what he has in Josh Kelly and Dillian Whyte in the next couple of months when these two fighters take on tough opposition on Matchroom card. If those two come up short, Hearn can trim some fat from his stable by cutting them adrift.
Heavyweight Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs) is in a risky rematch against Alexander Povetkin (36-2-1, 25 KOs) on March 6th in the UK. The fight will be shown on DAZN in the U.S and Sky Sports in the UK.
Whyte has already been knocked out once by Povetkin last year, but Hearn is counting on Dillian being able to avenge the loss. Dillian is getting another chance against the 41-year-old Povetkin, who will be putting his WBC mandatory status on the line.
The running joke is that if Whyte loses again, Hearn will set-up a trilogy match between him and Povetkin. So rather than Povetkin being able to use his WBC mandatory status to challenge for a world title, he’ll be stuck with yet another fight with Whyte.
The real question is, would Povetkin be given a rematch with Whyte if he were the one knocked last August.
Josh Kelly with a lot to prove against Avanesyan
“David Avanesyan vs. Josh Kelly, I love this fight,” said Hearn to iFL TV. “Yes, it will happen. It’ll happen because Avanesyan wants this fight bad, but Josh Kelly wants this fight bad, and so does [trainer] Adam Booth.
“Everyone understands that no one can move on until this fight is over. Three postponements or whatever it’s been. February 20th, this fight happens.
“This is a brilliant fight. We find out everything we need to know about Josh Kelly in this fight,” said Hearn.
We pretty much already know all we need to know about whether Kelly, 26, has the ability go anywhere in the 147-pound division from watching his last three fights.
Unless Hearn didn’t have his eyes open during Kelly’s fights against Ray Robinson and Wiston Campos, it’s academic that he doesn’t possess the ability to compete with upper- level fighter. Campos is a second-tier fighter, but he still gave Kelly all he could handle.
Robinson clearly beat Kelly but was arguably robbed with the judges scoring the fight a 10 round draw in their June 2019 fight on the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr undercard in New York.
It won’t take long for Hearn, Matchroom, and the fans to find out if 2016 Olympian Josh Kelly (10-0-1, 6 KOs) has the goods to cut it against top-level opposition.
Kelly will be challenging EBU welterweight champion Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14 KOs) next month on February 20th. It’s not much of a question whether Kelly loses this fight, it’s HOW he loses.
Many boxing fans are predicting a body shot knockout win by Avanesyan. That sounds about right for Gilfoid.
Whyte in a must-win situation against Povetkin
“March 6th, the big one, pay-per-view, Whyte – Povetkin, the rescheduled November fight,” said Hearn. “A lot of people said, ‘Too early for Dillian Whyte.’
“He didn’t think so, but now we get that fight on March 6th. How big is that fight fr Dillian Whyte. Basically, that fight is everything.
“It’s the biggest fight announced so far in 2021. Good, he’s in camp,” said Hearn about Povetkin’s health after recovering from COVID 19. “That’s why they wanted to have that big a break They have to win this fight themselves.
“So they’re not going to go into a fight ill-prepared. Povetkin is ready to fight, and Dillian Whyte is more than ready to fight. Dillian Whyte must win. A defeat for him in that fight is horrendous for his world championship dreams.
“It’s massive that fight. Can you imagine a couple of minutes before the first bell? But Dillian has got the bit between his teeth, he’s ready for this fight, and I believe he’s going to win the fight.
“Fabio Wardley will step up against Eric Molina on that card, a good heavyweight fight,” said Hearn. “Campbell Hatton will make his pro debut on Whyte – Povetkin.
“That will be the date for his pro debut, and I can’t wait. It’s all or nothing for Dillian Whyte and Florian Marku,” said Eddie.
A second loss for Whyte against Povetkin will finish his and Hearn’s dreams of a world title fight against Joshua. Whyte can still be a money-maker on Sky Box Office the way Dereck Chisora (32-10), but he’ll be more of a high-level journeyman type fighter.
Hearn hoping to match Whyte against Wilder
“I just love the fight,” said Hearn about his desire to match Whyte against Deontay Wilder if he gets past Povetkin on March 6th.
“One, it’s a great fight, two the build-up will be mental. For many years, Whyte was calling out Wilder Obviously, Wilder lost. ake the fight. Dillian Whyte just got locked out by Alexander Povetkin.
“He’s got to rematch him first, but if he can win and I believe he will, and there are some massive fights out there. I just love Wilder – Whyte,” Hearn said.
Eddie has been banging the drum for a fight between Whyte and Deontay Wilder for the last couple of years. He should know by now that it’s not going to happen. Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) is too expensive for him to set up a fight against Whyte.
If Hearn is hoping to use Whyte to protect Joshua from Wilder, it’s a waste of time. Wilder isn’t going to indulge him because he wants AJ or Tyson Fury, as those are the real meat & potato fights for him.
The money that Deontay would make against Whyte would be chump change in comparison. If Hearn wants to match Whyte against somebody, he needs to pull the trigger on a fight against 41-year-old Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz.
The World Boxing Council had attempted to get Whyte to agree to fight Ortiz in the past, but he passed on it, which is why he still hasn’t gotten a world title shot.
Some boxing fans believe Whyte is terrified of fighting the talented Cuban southpaw. All I know is the WBC twice ordered Whyte to face Ortiz, and he rejected the match both times.
Lawrence Okolie battles Krzysztof Glowacki
“March 20, Lawrence Okolie will fight Krzysztof Glowacki for the WBO World cruiserweight championship,” said Hearn. “It’s a massive opportunity for Lawrence.
“He looked fantastic last time out against Nikodem Jezewski. I just think Okolie – Glowacki is a great fight. I know people moan about vacant world title fights.
“That’s a proper vacant world title fight. If he beats Glowacki, you can’t moan about him being a world champion. I believe he punches harder than any cruiserweight out there.
“I believe he’s so dangerous. Shane McGuigan has done a great job. He’s getting better and better, Lawrence, and I believe he’s going to become world champion on March 20th,” said Hearn.
This is a gimme for Lawrence Okolie with him facing Glowacki for the vacant WBO cruiserweight title.
How in the world did the World Boxing Organization sanction this fight, given that Glowacki is coming off a knockout loss to Mairis Briedis? It doesn’t make sense. Heck, the WBO might as well just give the WBO belt to Okolie before the fight and save fans the suspense.
Conor Benn faces Samuel Vargas
“On April 10, Conor Benn vs. Samuel Vargas, it’s a great fight,” said Hearn. “Conor has wanted that fight for 12 months now.
“Vargas had a good fight with Amir Khan, a good fight with [Luis] Collazo, he fought Veril Ortz. He’s a tough fighter. [Sebastian] Formella came in and survived a bit, but this guy is going to come to fight.
It’s going to be a firefight. It’s a big statement for Conor Benn. It’s a big opportunity for Conor.
“Everybody is talking about Conor Benn facing Josh Kelly. Obviously, if they both get through their interim challenges, that’s something we would love to do,” said Hearn.
I don’t see this fight as a step up for Conor Benn from his last match against Sebastian Formella Samuel Vargas (31-6-2, 14 KOs) is a journeyman, who is coming off a seventh-round knockout loss to Vergil Ortiz Jr last July.
Where is the gain in Benn fighting Vargas with him having lost his last fight? I got an idea. How about Hearn matching Benn against Vergil Ortiz Jr in a sink or swim fight? If Benn wins, then Hearn will know what he’s get in him. If he loses, well, I told you so.
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