JEFF POWELL: Whyte given a shot at redemption with his rematch clause

JEFF POWELL: Dillian Whyte has been afforded a shot at redemption with his rematch clause against Alexander Povetkin… the Bodysnatcher played his part in the Knockout of the Year contender but must bounce back against the wily Russian

  • Dillian Whyte was knocked out cold by Alexander Povetkin at Fight Camp 4 
  • The defeat is a major setback to Whyte who had hoped to challenge for a title 
  • Despite being comprehensively knocked out, he is set for an immediate rematch
  • Whyte and Eddie Hearn are confident of a win in spite of the brutal knockout 

If football was run like boxing there would be an immediate rematch if the bigger, richer favourites lost the Cup Final. That right would be enshrined in the pre-Wembley contract.

It turns out exactly such a clause was in place just in case Dillian Whyte was knocked out of his promoter’s back garden and into the middle of next week.

Which is exactly what Russian veteran Alexander Povetkin did to him on Saturday night with a cunningly conceived and brilliantly executed howitzer of a short left uppercut.

Dillian Whyte was devastatingly knocked out by 40-year-old Alexander Povetkin on Saturday

Whyte’s defeat comes as a huge setback in his bid to fight for the WBC heavyweight title

So goodnight Vienna? So here endeth the Brixton Body Snatcher’s thousand or more days in waiting for a world title fight? So the 40-year-old iron man from the World War II battleground of Kursk will be getting the glory shot against Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder which the WBC had promised the winner of Whyte v Povekin?

Not so fast.

Once Whyte had been reacquainted with his senses after that seismic fifth round shock dropped him into a coma – and out of most of the world heavyweight top ten rankings – he was screaming: ‘Rematch.’ To which Eddie Hearn replied: ‘No problem. In the contract.’ Really? For a comparatively meaningless ‘Interim’ title and a token ‘Diamond’ belt? What next? Rematch clauses for hot young properties in six-rounders against wily old stagers?

When Whyte came to his senses, he was calling for an immediate rematch against the Russian

Whyte’s promotor, Eddie Hearn (right), revealed Whyte has a rematch clause in his contract

Maybe there is a justifiable case for safety nets for world champions. Although Muhammad Ali did not ask for one the night he lost the Fight Of The Century to Joe Frazier. The Greatest just worked his way back through three hard years to a second match, as Smokin’ Joe duly did for their trilogy fight.

But for contenders? Are we sure?

Well, Hearn believes so. He says: ‘Povetkin won’t be called to negotiations with Fury or Wilder, the way Dillian would. So we’re looking at the rematch in December.’ So, of course, does Whyte, who says: ‘I was bossing the entire fight until he caught me with that punch.’ Not the kind of controversy, that, which usually fires up return bouts. Not strictly accurate, either. Povetkin gave at least as good as he got in the first two rounds. Whyte did stop him in his tracks with a heavy punch towards the end of the third and certainly looked the likely winner in the fourth as he twice put Povetkin briefly down. Although not out, unfortunately.

Forty became merely a number, not so much an age, as Povetkin came back to produce that left uppercut which he and his trainer had designed to exploit a flaw they espied in Whyte’s technique.

Povetkin is now the mandatory challenger for Fury’s title, but is unlikely to fight the Briton

Anthony Joshua said he would voluntarily defend his belts against Whyte further down the line 

If it is any consolation to Whyte, he played his part in what may well come to be judged the Knock-Out Of The Year. He also helped serve up a thriller for Sky Sport’s pay-per-view buyers.

This weekend’s quickly revised heavyweight rankings offer no solace. Whyte, who entered Hearn’s closed-doors Fight Camp as the WBC’s mandatory No 1 contender, no longer appears among the top ten heavyweights with that organisation nor the WBA, IBF or WBO.

Ring magazine still have him as their No 2 contender. The fringe IBO place him No 3. But these are not the belts that matter in the upmost scheme of things.

There is still a chink of light in the WBC list. Although Povetkin displaces Whyte as ‘Interim’ champion, the 9th spot he occupied until Saturday night is now left vacant.

Hearn and Whyte are confident the Bodysnatcher can avenge his defeat. Are we sure?

If that is being kept open for Whyte, he would qualify as a voluntary title challenger to Fury or Joshua. The latter was quick to say he would give Whyte a chance at some time in the future ‘once I’ve dealt with my current obligations even though he turned down a title fight with me once before.’ 

Joshua’s next commitment is a December defence of his several belts against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, whose promoter, Bob Arum, took pot shots at both AJ and Whyte overnight. 

His first tweet read: ‘Dillian was so busy fighting for his WBC mandatory position that he didn’t see Povetkin’s uppercut which knocked him cold.’ The second warned: ‘Pulev will knock-out Joshua next. London bridges are falling.’ If that happens world heavyweight boxing will be turned as dramatically on its head as Whyte in windy Essex. The impact of so brutal a KO can be lasting, Even so, both Whyte and Hearn say he will win the rematch.

Are we sure?

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