Will it be another night to remember for Dillian Whyte, or will former title challenger Alexander Povetkin cause the upset of all upsets?
By Virgin TV Edit
Rarely do non-world title fights come much bigger than this. Literally, in this case, with hard-hitting heavyweights Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin facing off in a contest that could see both earn a shot at one of the coveted belts currently held by Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.
In Povetkin’s case, it’s a chance to beat one of the division’s highest ranked fighters and fend off the clutches of Father Time for at least a few more years. For Whyte, it is undoubtedly another opportunity to convince the WBC to force a title fight between himself and champion Tyson Fury.
Though Whyte’s WBC Interim title is on the line, the ramifications the result could have for the division carry far greater meaning than the belt. And while the stage is less Madison Square Garden and more, well, Eddie Hearne’s garden (no, literally, look…) it’s a contest befitting of any arena, with plenty of questions lingering in the air before both step into the ring this coming Saturday…
Can Whyte maintain his status?
It seems a lifetime ago that Whyte beat Robert Helenius and was first slotted in as the WBC’s mandatory challenger… mainly because it has been, in boxing terms. Three years is a long time, and over 1,000 days later, Whyte remains the mandatory challenger to Tyson Fury’s belt.
Countless attempt to schedule bouts with former champion Deontay Wilder and now incumbent champ Fury have been made, remade, scuppered and cancelled altogether. It’s to Whyte’s credit that he’s kept himself in the frame for this long.
Hard-hitting fast punchers have caused Povetkin trouble in the past. Though Whyte’s recent victories have displayed a more patient, tactical side to his game, another knockout win over a former champion would be a message few of his rivals could ignore.
Povetkin’s final shot at the big time?
Controversial as his career has been on occasion, Povetkin’s time in the ring has undoubtedly been a success. At 40, retirement seems significantly closer for the former champion, and in Saturday’s fight with Whyte, Povetkin has one last chance to throw himself back into contention.
That said, he faces in Whyte a far tougher opponent than the likes of which he’s faced of late. Hughie Fury’s talents pale in comparison to those of cousin Tyson, making Povetkin’s points win over the Brit look underwhelming at best. He also looked sluggish (and was almost toppled) back in December’s draw against 32-year-old Michael Hunter.
If he’s to earn that third shot at a title, a career-best performance will be what’s needed from the Russian. A tall order for any fighter, let alone one in their forties.
What next for each fighter?
Though Tyson Fury’s proposed two-fight deal with WBO, WBA (Super), IBF and IBO champion Anthony Joshua and his supposed trilogy bout with Deontay Wilder only complicate the likelihood of a shot at the title, Whyte’s task is simple – beat Povetkin, and maintain the mandatory status. Lose, and a long, long journey back to the top would await.
For Povetkin, a victory would send shockwaves through the division. Though a future title shot would prove as problematic to secure as it would for Whyte, bagging an interim title at 40 could prove Povetkin’s career has at least a few years left. A loss, however, could spell the end for the Russian’s title-winning time in the ring.
Powerful as both fighters may be, neither has a knockout to their name since 2018. This fight could well turn into a brutal battle of attrition. But, as is always the case with heavyweight boxing, one punch can change everything.
So whether Whyte “goes through” Povetkin like he did Chisora back in 2018 or Povetkin repeats his “send him to the shadow realm”–esque knockout over David Price come Saturday, one thing is a certainty – it’ll be one hell of a showdown.
When is Dillian Whyte v Alexander Povetkin on TV?
Whyte v Povetkin takes place from 7pm on Saturday 22 August. It costs £20.95 (HD) or £19.95 (SD).
How can I watch the action?
Go to Home > On Demand > Live Events. To view your booking, once purchased, go to On Demand > Live Events.
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This is a live event only and cannot be recorded. Price includes scheduled repeats. Repeats 8am, 1pm and 6pm, Sunday 23 August.