Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin fight preview

Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin fight preview

Published On Tuesday, July 28, 2020By Ben Davies

Ben Davies previews the Whyte-Povetkin heavyweight clash

Whyte faces Povetkin on a stacked Matchroom card on Saturday August 22nd defending his Interim WBC World Heavyweight Title

Brixton 'Bodysnatcher' Dillian Whyte (27-1-0, 18KOs) will fight in the main event on the final week of the Matchroom Fight Camp summer series against Russian visitor Alexander Povetkin (35-2-1, 24KOs), putting up his WBC interim World heavyweight title and mandatory status that he has held for so long.

Jamaican-born Whyte could close in even further on a WBC World title challenge with a victory here on the back of an 11-fight winning streak, involving some explosive performances since his well-documented defeat to Anthony Joshua in December 2015. AJ was also the last man to inflict a defeat on Povetkin's record too, quite recently in September 2018.

The Londoner will face a tough test against a rugged, dynamic opponent in Povetkin, who has the richest of boxing backgrounds. The 40-year-old challenger who is coming into the clash off the back of a draw against American contender Michael Hunter with the scorecards unable to separate the fighters, who were both hurt during the contest but managed to pull through.

Povetkin, an Olympic gold medallist, was rocked significantly by a terrifically fast start from Hunter, with the younger man's speed and unyieding combinations troubling the Rus', but he showed his grit by refusing to wilt under the sustained pressure, but he was on the end of some very big shots in that first round, despite moving his head, and it was punches number two, three and four that were catching him so often. He may require this steely determination and composure to hold off any potential barrage from Whyte in thier fight, especially in the later stages.

An orthodox fighter and a relatively small heavyweight at 6’2", Povetkin has a wealth of experience at the top level and is capable of soaking up heavy shots with an excellent guard, good head movement, in addition to having a hugely powerful left hook. His education and experience in the game is second to none.

The veteran's boxing career has been a huge success overall, starting out with a great amateur pedigree winning gold medals in the super-heavyweight division at the 2002 and 2004 European Championships, 2003 World Championships, and Athens 2004 Olympics.

Ranked as the world's fifth best active heavyweight by BoxRec, the ‘Russian Vityaz’ has fought twice for unified heavyweight titles against Wladimir Klitschko in 2013, where he was floored four times, and Anthony Joshua in 2018, but failed to capitalise on either opportunity, losing for the very first time on a stoppage against Joshua in the seventh, despite a bright start.

Since his defeat to AJ, Povetkin gave Hughie Fury a boxing lesson over 12-rounds in August last year, before meeting with 'The Bounty Hunter' just three months later on the undercard of Joshua-Ruiz 2 in Diriyah. The pair battled it out 12-rounds with the three ringside judges unable to split them at the end.

His previous two performances demonstrate his worthyness at the very top of the list of heavyweight contenders despite his advanced age and 15-year extended spell in the professional ranks. He will be looking to utilise his dangerous left hook to stun Dillian Whyte - who also counts the left hook as his best punch - and earn himself another title shot in the near future, which could well be his last roll of the dice.

Meanwhile, Whyte has his own aspirations in mind as he is on course to force a British mega-fight with WBC titleholder Tyson Fury, after the opportunity has continuously failed to materialise itself for the frustrated 32-year-old.

He beat Mariusz Wach by unanimous decision on the same card as Povetkin-Hunter after a uneasy period within his boxing career following a charge for a doping violation, which was dropped eventually, and admitted he was a stone and a half overweight for the bout, but managed to control the fight, especially early on where he landed some exceptional combinations while finishing strongly after a period where the Pole came back into the fight and looked increasingly menacing. However, it wasn't a convincing performance for 6ft 4" heavyweight.

This was his 27th career win, and off the back of the bout in Saudi Arabia he now faces one of his tallest orders yet in the shape of the vastly experienced Povetkin, who is still a force in the blue-ribbon division.

Born and raised in Port Antonio, Whyte has had a superb career to date, with a well-documented switch from professional kickboxing, where he held a fine record and skillset that gave him the pedigree for his successful future in boxing. In his amateur debut, he decked and defeated Anthony Joshua, but was forced to finish his short stint with just six wins from six, with five KOs, after the BBBofC took away his amateur licence when one of his opponents ended up in a coma.

Under former trainer Mark Tibbs, Whyte was turned into a powerful force in the heavyweight division, and has looked superb since his defeat to British rival Joshua by beating the likes of Derek Chisora, twice, and former world champion Joseph Parker on his route to his current position, currently ranked the third best active heavyweight by The Ring magazine and sixth by Boxrec rankings, not forgetting his pole position as WBC No.1.

Now Whyte’s unexpected split with Tibbs has resulted in new trainer Xavier Miller taking the reins ahead of this crucial fight, training together abroad in Portugal all through lockdown with a gruelling camp to get the heavyweight back into shape, to chase down aspirations of becoming a legendary British fighter.

Despite the possible distraction of an eventual title challenge against Fury, Whyte must acknowledge the lightning quick hand speed and crunching shots of Povetkin due to come flying forward on August 22.

The Jamaican born heavyweight possesses a marginal advantage in terms of size and reach with a powerful range of his own shots, and the highly recognised crunching left hook that matches up neatly to his opponents’ lethal weapon. He will no doubt use these advantages, maintaining a focus throughout on inflicting power and heavy body damage in the early rounds to prevent the fight becoming embroiled by scrappy exchanges and a complete dogfight in the latter stages. This has often been a platform that has provided success in the past with some sensational stoppages against Chisora and Lucas Browne.

Having made the switch from long time trainer Mark Tibbs, Whyte will need to form a fast relationship with his new mentor, Xavier Miller, in a real test back on the big stage, and hold confidence from his superb run of victories to overcome past demons to set up his dream fight and chance to make a concluding statement on the global stage.

Standing in his way is a 40-year-old who is continuing to defy the laws of age within the sport and will not be an easy customer with a wealth of experience and boxing knowledge threatening to bring the Briton's hopes to the ground after so much hard work to become a contender once again.

Dillian Whyte will be widely expected to prevail in this bout and any unexpected defeat could derail his chances of making his way to the summit, but victory will cement his place as a contender that will not lie down, a part of the big guns in the heavyweight division and British boxing scene.

Whyte vs Povetkin takes place on August 22, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.

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