After more than 1,000 days as the WBC’s No. 1 contender at heavyweight, Dillian Whyte took the risk of putting his coveted status and the WBC interim championship on the line against 40-year-old Alexander Povetkin. The risk did not pay off at Matchroom Boxing’s Fight Camp on Saturday, with Povetkin scoring a brutal comeback knockout for the upset victory to claim the WBC interim heavyweight championship.
The fight began with some close rounds, both men working off the jab and digging shots to the body. But Whyte stepped on the gas in Round 4, first catching Povetkin with two right hands and then a cuffing left hand to score a knockdown before scoring another moments later with a hard uppercut. Whyte didn’t have enough time to go for the finish before the round came to a close, however, and Povetkin looked to have recovered as he came out of his corner to start Round 5.
Thirty seconds later, it was all over. Povetkin unleashed a flawless left uppercut to the chin of Whyte, stiffening his body and sending him crashing down the ropes and to the canvas. There was no need for a count as the referee waived off the contest at the 0:30 mark of the fifth round, a stunning turn of events that upends the heavyweight division below the “big three” of Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua.
After his victory, Povetkin revealed that the uppercut he used to finish the fight was something he and his team had trained for, and that he retained his confidence even after being knocked down twice in Round 4. Whyte had been patiently waiting for his opportunity to fight for the WBC belt while Wilder and Fury battled through their rivalry. After looking out of shape in his previous fight, a decision win over Mariusz Wach this past December, Whyte showed up looking to be much more physically fit only to be caught by the brutal left of Povetkin.