DILLIAN WHYTE gained revenge over Russian veteran ALEXANDER POVETKIN with an emphatic fourth round stoppage in Gibraltar. A right cross clattered into the man who knocked him cold last summer, another booming right hand followed before a left hook – Whyte’s honey punch – confirmed revenge.
Whyte looked in tremendous shape, Povetkin not so much, and there was a feeling the Englishman might finish matters in the opening round. Povetkin rocked and rolled while under pressure in those first three minutes, barely standing upright against the ropes, looking there for the taking. The 42-year-old, who was forced to pull out of an earlier date due to contracting Covid-19, looked a long way from his old self.
Whyte jumped up and down en route to the ring and attacked his man at the sound of the first bell. Povetkin, in contrast, ambled to the battleground seemingly unaware he had to have a fight. One suspects that was his last visit to a boxing ring.
“I’m just sad it didn’t get finished in the first round, I tried,” Whyte said afterwards. “From the first round I was on to him but I couldn’t go hell for leather.”
Dillian deserves huge credit for taking the immediate rematch. The KO he suffered at the hands of Povetkin last year was a colossal setback. This puts him back on track and he’s next in line for shot at the title once Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have resolved their differences.
Whyte, bar the fleeting moment of danger from Povetkin averted, was in control throughout.
“Everyone that takes that left hook must go down,” he said while watching the replay of his most important finish.
Questions must be asked of Povetkin, however. Fleshy, overweight and seemingly happy to be there, he looked a long, long way from the fighter he was last summer, much less the warrior he was at his best.
TED CHEESEMAN again showcased his warrior spirit as he toppled JAMES METCALF in the 11th round of an absorbing clash. The contest, for the vacant British super-welterweight title, was a cracker.
Metcalf looked slightly over-eager in the early going. It may have been nerves, a bit of inexperience perhaps, but whatever the case it took a fourth round shellacking to awaken him. After walking onto a short right hand from Cheeseman the Scouser looked on the brink of being stopped as he shipped substantial punishment.
Cheeseman was guilty of impatience but it was Metcalf’s astonishing durability that prevented the early finish. The bout then became the slugfest many expected beforehand. Metcalf threatened control though Cheeseman’s will to win, his trademark, saw him make the definitive turn in the 11th.
A huge left dropped Metcalf and referee Ian John Lewis waived the bout over as he was trying to regain his footing.
FABIO WARDLEY was drawn into a struggle with ERIC MOLINA ahead of the main event. Though the British heavyweight went to 11-0, stopping the former world title challenger in the fifth, he showed he’s a long way from the finished article.
Molina, as always, spoke a good game beforehand. He earned another hefty payday no doubt. But he crumbled again the moment he was put under pressure. A shame, too, because he seemed to hurt Wardley moments before the finish.
Wardley, nonetheless, deserves plenty of credit for continuing to step up and learn. With his back to the ropes, a left-right combination to the top of the head dropped Molina for the count. Once that count had reached ten he got up and grumbled he’d been hit on the back of the head.
MICHAEL McKINSON beat CHRIS KONGO at welterweight and heavyweight NICK WEBB got his career back on track with a surprise victory over ERIC PFEIFER.