Last night in Brentwood, England forty year-old Alexander Povetkin scored what should be the front runner for knockout of the year over Dillian Whyte. Whyte has been the WBC’s heavyweight contender for several years now and had been campaigning for a shot at Deontay Wilder. Now that Wilder has been dethroned he has a contracted rematch with Tyson Fury that coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic extended his title shot wait even longer. Made possible by this delay Alexander Povetkin was put in a position of great opportunity as Whyte risked his mandatory title status in 2021 to face the dangerous Russian.
Both men fought a very tentative and careful bout through the first three rounds. As the two fighters showed respect for each others power their offenses were limited to spurts here and there. Whyte tried to work his jab and Povetkin tried for the body. Povetkin in seeming frustration did throw a fight ending type of overhand right but missed. The two men exchanged mostly body punches early on. In round four the fight opened up as Whyte put Povetkin down on a short left early in the round. Whyte did sense that Povetkin was not too troubled by the punch and hung back to patiently assess the damage and score with punches to secure the 10-8 round. Whyte dropped Povetkin again with a short left hook with his back to the ropes. At that moment it seemed like Povetkin was finished and that at his age it was all catching up to him. Thirty seconds into round five Povetkin slipped his way inside and bent down to his left. He loaded his power into his left hand as Whyte was upright and not in position to see the punch. Whyte’s right hand stuck out but it was futile. Povetkin sprung out of a slight crouch with a dynamite left uppercut that was short and devastating as Whyte fell to the canvas with his head underneath the bottom rope. Mark Lyson didn’t bother to count and waved it off with Whyte down. Povetkin celebrated as medical staff looked at Whyte. Whyte rose to his feet and stood in disbelief as Povetkin’s glove was raised in victory.
In the wake of the shocking knockout, Whyte’s camp and promoter Eddie Hearn would like a rematch in December. Povetkin nearing forty-one most likely will wait to get his shot. He did defeat Tyson Fury’s cousin Hughie and with victories over Fury, Whyte and also David Price in the UK and a fight with Anthony Joshua in the UK as well he has built his profile in that market. A fight with Tyson Fury with an element of revenge and off the back of the knockout of Whyte could be a money maker.
In other shocking news Kevin Johnson scored a surprise knockout over Yoan Pablo Hernandez an ex cruiserweight champion making his heavyweight debut. Johnson is best known for going the distance with Vitali Klitschko in a WBC heavyweight title fight and has been a journeyman fighter since the early 2010’s. He is a tough guy with excellent defense who is difficult to nail clean but has made a living dragging up and comers the distance. Last night he was the spoiler with a record of 10-16 since 2012 and 35-17-1 overall he laid out the 29-1 former champion to derail his comeback.