The world awaits a genuine clash of titans in the heavyweight boxing division, with Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury finally set to fight at some point in 2021. Amidst all the hype and headlines which inevitably surrounds those two champions, with the potential unification of all the major belts at stake, other interesting bouts appear to have gone under the radar.
One of those bouts is just around the corner, with the hugely experienced Alexander Povetkin set to fight Dillian Whyte on Saturday 6th March, at the SSE Arena in London. On the line again will be the WBC interim heavyweight title, in what will be a rematch of the previous August 2020 meeting between the pair.
Fighting in home territory at the Matchroom Sports Headquarters in Brentwood, England, Dillian “The Body Snatcher” Whyte was tipped to make an important step in his career, with Alexander “Russian Vityaz” Povetkin standing in his way. Even though Whyte floored his rival twice last time, Povetkin recovered to claim a surprise TKO victory in the fifth round.
Despite what turned out to be an upset in that last fight, once again, the bookies are strongly behind the 32-year-old from Brixton. Indeed, the latest boxing betting odds are strongly favouring Whyte, who is priced as the firm 1/3 favourite. This time, Povetkin has been given little chance of repeating his previous victory, priced at 9/4 odds.
Widely considered to be one of the leading contenders in the heavyweight division for some time, Whyte has enjoyed an impressive rise to prominence. Up until last year, there was just one defeat blemishing his otherwise impeccable fighting record, which came in December 2015 against none other than Anthony Joshua.
That particular battle of Britain was for the WBC Intercontinental, Commonwealth, and vacant British heavyweight titles. In what turned out to be an enthralling fight, still early in the professional careers of both fighters, Whyte was floored by a vicious uppercut which Joshua still recalls fondly as his favourite knockout blow.
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Whyte will be hoping for another crack at Joshua in the future, although he must first prove himself worthy enough. Last time he dominated the early rounds against Povetkin, yet the Russian took his punishment and then landed the crucial knockout blow. Inevitably, there was no way Whyte was letting that go without an immediate rematch request.
Perhaps there was complacency on the part of Whyte last time around, although that was probably his biggest mistake, given that Povetkin is certainly no stooge. The 41-year-old has gone toe to toe with the best in the business, losing just twice in his career. Those defeats were both title shots, first against Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, then Joshua in 2018.
After a split decision draw against Michael Hunter in December 2019, many believed that Povetkin might never get another championship title shot. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of life left in this old boxing lion, which means that Whyte would be wise to take absolutely nothing for granted. Awaiting the winner could be a crack at Joshua or Fury in the future.