By Barry Holbrook: Dillian Whyte made easy work of Alexander Povetkin, knocking him out in the fourth with a left to the head that left him on the canvas in a heap on Saturday night in Gibraltar.
The left hook that Whyte knocked Povetkin out would have felled anyone in the division. You can’t fault Povetkin for him getting knocked out by that shot because it was a devasting punch, and Dillian landed it cleanly.
What was supposed to be a competitive fight turned out to be a massacre of the first order, with Dillian (28-2, 19 KOs) hitting the interim WBC heavyweight champion Povetkin (36-3-1, 25 KOs) at will with shots that left him bruised and battered.
Povetkin was too badly hurt for him to be allowed to continue after he was rudely deposited on the canvas by Whyte in the fourth round. Moments before that, Povetkin was reeling with every punch that Dillian hit him with.
The Russian fighter’s punch resistance was gone, and he wasn’t going to be able to make it out of the round no matter what.
Whyte’s victory tonight allowed him to recapture his interim WBC heavyweight title and mandatory position and avenge his loss to Povetkin from August 22nd last year.
In that fight, Povetkin knocked out Dillian in the fifth-round with a textbook left uppercut.
Whyte’s revenge victory tonight was far better than Anthony Joshua’s win over Andy Ruiz Jr in their rematch in December 2019 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Joshua fought in a safety-first manner to beat Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) by a dull 12 round unanimous decision.
What we saw tonight from Dillian was total destruction, with him mopping the deck with Povetkin from start to the bitter finish in the fourth round.
It was with clinical precision the way that Whyte battered Povetkin to eventually stop him in the fourth round at the 2:39 mark.
Whyte’s victory puts him right back where he needs to be as the mandatory for WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. Now all Whyte needs to do is wait for the outcome of the two Joshua vs. Fury fights, which means he’ll probably need to stay active until 2022.
Dillian’s promoter Eddie Hearn said that he wants him to fight three times this year to stay busy while he waits for his title shot. Hearn isn’t going to offer Whyte soft touches, though. Hearn wants Dillian to fight the very best if possible, but we’ll have to see if he has any takers.
With Whyte’s interim WBC belt and mandatory status, he should be able to lure some of the top heavyweights to face him, but probably not Deontay Wilder.
If Whyte, 32, had lost the rematch with Povetkin tonight, his chances of fighting for a world title would have gone down the drain, maybe permanently. Dillian would have needed to win many fights and wait a long time if he had lost.
Povetkin was in trouble in the first round opening moments after getting hit hard by Whyte and looking in bad shape virtually the full three minutes.
Povetkin just barely escaped the round after Whyte missed him narrowly with several homerun shots that would have clearly stopped him if they’d landed.
“He wanted the energy, and his world championship dreams were on the line tonight,” said Eddie Hearn after the fight. “We called for Deontay Wilder for a long time. He DM’d Dillian and said he wouldn’t give him that fight.
“That is a colossal fight. We are back where we wanted to be,” said Hearn.
Whyte wanted nothing to do with Povetkin’s attempts at sportsmanship, with him trying to touch gloves before the start of the rounds.
Even when Povetkin would let up while clinching, Whyte roughly flung him off, hitting him in the face as if to say, ‘I’m not going to be your friend.’
Povetkin was unable to land his bread & butter punch, his left hook, as Whyte did a good job of neutralizing that shot by keeping the action on the outside.