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Date set for Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin II, but Board must still clear rematch

Dillian Whyte
Date scheduled but Board have not yet given Dillian Whyte the all-clear to take part, writes Matt Christie

IT has been announced that Dillian Whyte will get the chance to level the score with Alexander Povetkin on November 21 at a British venue to be confirmed. Povetkin took the lead via a dramatic left-hander that volleyed Whyte to sleep on August 22 to close the four-week Matchroom Fight Camp in sensational style.

The rematch has been in the offing since Whyte woke up. He made it clear to promoter Eddie Hearn he wanted to fight Povetkin again immediately after the surprise loss.

“I’m over the moon to have the rematch,” said Whyte. “As soon as I got out of the ring I was looking for confirmation that the fight would be on… There won’t be any major adjustments but I just need to be more switched on and not get distracted. He was able to use his experience against me.”

Povetkin added, “Now the date of the rematch is known, I will soon return to my training camp and prepare as thoroughly as I did for the first fight.”

Questions on the venue – it’s hoped there will be a crowd of sorts – cannot be answered until the ever-changing restrictions regarding the coronavirus pandemic level out somewhat. It is believed government plans to trial fans coming back into venues will continue.

Boxing News also understands that Whyte has not yet been given the all-clear to return in November by the British Boxing Board of Control. Due to the nature of his defeat he is currently under suspension until he has satisfied the Board that he is fit to fight. Robert Smith, the General Secretary of the Board, fully expects Whyte to pass the required tests in time.

Alexander Povetkin

None of this was in the script, of course. Whyte had expected to win in August and secure a shot at the WBC heavyweight title. Famously, the Brixton fighter had occupied the top spot in that organisation’s rankings for 1,000 days prior to Povetkin steaming in and knocking him cold in the fifth round but, it should be noted, Whyte was not the official mandatory for the entirety of that lengthy spell. Nonetheless, few can deny that Dillian had long since earned his chance.

The speediness in making this second leg speaks of several things. Firstly it says plenty about Whyte and his desire to get back in there with a man who beat him so convincingly. The British star was not pummelled from the opening bell but the manner of the finish was devastating. Going straight back in with Povetkin is a risky and brave decision.

It is not the first time a British heavyweight has opted to jump straight back in with an upset conqueror. An immediate rematch paid dividends for Anthony Joshua last year when he rebounded from a seventh-round loss to Andy Ruiz Jnr in June to dominate the American over 12 six months later. Eighteen years before that, Lennox Lewis aced a similar revenge mission, halting Hasim Rahman in four rounds seven months after being stopped in five. Yet David Price opting to accept a return with Tony Thompson only five months after being beaten in two rounds ended with another stoppage defeat. For further context, only 13 weeks will have elapsed between Whyte being knocked out and the opening bell of the sequel.   

Inevitably, tales about Whyte’s imperfect preparation were told in the aftermath. His dedication should not be questioned – he was in sublime shape and his refusal to make a single excuse himself should also be applauded – but hindsight suggests that replacing long-time coach Mark Tibbs with Xavier Miller and adding Dave Coldwell to the team just days before fight one was not ideal. Also consider reports that Whyte’s sparring out in his Portugal training camp wasn’t befitting of the fight that awaited and there is plenty for the Londoner to work on. Povetkin’s age, he is now 41 and looked it for large parts of their summer encounter, may also work in Whyte’s favour.

The event will be broadcast by Sky Sports Box Office in the UK. Though DAZN are expected to stream stateside, this is yet to be confirmed.

Sky Sports have also announced they will be screening the following:

The September 26 World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight final between Yuniel Dorticos and Maris Briedis which takes place in Berlin, Germany; Joshua Buatsi takes on Croat, Marko Calic on October 4 with Chantelle Cameron challenging for the vacant WBC super-lightweight title against Brazil’s Adriana Dos Santos Araujo on the same bill; and on October 17, Hannah Rankin and Savannah Marshall collide for the vacant WBO super-middleweight strap while Newcastle’s Lewis Ritson steps up against Mexico’s Miguel Vazquez.

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