May 16, 2021

Whyte: I’m Expecting Best Povetkin In Long Time; He Knows What’s At Stake

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Alexander Povetkin is 40 years old and has gone 1-1-1 in his past three fights.

Dillian Whyte still considers the former WBA heavyweight champion a very dangerous opponent. Whyte figures Povetkin realizes their fight for Whyte’s WBC interim championship is essentially his last chance to become a two-time champion and make substantially more money before he retires.

Promoter Eddie Hearn announced Friday that London’s Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) and Russia’s Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs) will fight August 22 on the grounds of Matchroom Boxing’s headquarters in Brentwood, England. Whyte-Povetkin, which was postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will headline a Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view show that night.

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If Povetkin upsets Whyte, he’ll win Whyte’s interim title and assume Whyte’s position as the mandatory challenger for WBC champion Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs).

“I’m expecting the best Povetkin there’s been in a long time because this is his last [chance],” Whyte told Sky Sports in an interview that was streamed Friday on the British network’s YouTube channel. “If he loses this fight, it’s like, where does he go from there? Does he go and be a gatekeeper? Does he go and get beat up by these younger guys? Or does he try and make a comeback? You know what I mean? But I think he knows what’s at stake. He beats me, he could be fighting for a world title in his next fight. So, you know, I’m expecting the best Alexander Povetkin.

“You know, I’m sure, even though there’s a lockdown, he’s been training. He’s a big enough sports star [in Russia] to still get access to facilities or might have a home gym or whatever. So, you know, in Russia they’re tough. They’ll go in the mountain and train in the mountain, with logs and sticks and whatever they can find. So, you know, I’m expecting the best Povetkin in a long time.”

Povetkin fought to a 12-round split draw with American Michael Hunter (18-1-1, 12 KOs) in his last fight, which was part of the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz undercard December 7 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Whyte beat Poland’s Mariusz Wach (36-6, 19 KOs) by unanimous decision in a 10-rounder on that same undercard.

The 32-year-old Whyte has been training in Portugal for three months because he initially thought he would face Povetkin on July 4, once their May 2 fight was postponed. Whyte and Povetkin were supposed to fight at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, but their bout was moved to what Hearn has dubbed “Matchroom Square Garden” because fans cannot attend sporting events in the United Kingdom due to coronavirus restrictions.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.