Boxing Sport

No regrets fighting Povetkin; I will handle him in rematch, says Whyte

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Dillian Whyte won’t lament taking one dangerous heavyweight fight too many before finally getting his shot at the WBC title.

Whyte instead expressed eagerness to avenge his second professional loss as soon as possible the day after Alexander Povetkin knocked him unconscious in the fifth round Saturday night in Brentwood, England.

London’s Whyte is confident he’ll emerge victorious from their immediate rematch because he was winning their bout before Povetkin unloaded a perfect left uppercut that knocked Whyte out cold at Matchroom Boxing’s headquarters.

“I have no regrets,” Whyte told Sky Sports News on Sunday.

“It was a great fight and Povetkin did well. I know I can beat him. I showed that from round one. Obviously, he is very experienced. His corner was on the verge of pulling him out. But he pulled out one of the best punches of his career. That’s heavyweight boxing – full of drama, ups and downs. I didn’t rush him in the fourth round because he is dangerous. When he gets hurt, he swings big punches.”

povetkin whyteWhyte dropped Povetkin twice during the fourth round and appeared well on his way to winning their scheduled 12-round encounter by knockout. Russia’s Povetkin shockingly shook up the heavyweight division by blasting Whyte with a vicious shot Whyte never saw coming.

“It was a silly mistake,” said Whyte, who lost the WBC interim title to Povetkin, a former WBA champ.

“I blocked that punch 100 times in training. The one time it needed to be blocked, I was too late. He was on his last legs and I was pressing him. But that’s heavyweight boxing, man. That’s what happens.”

The 32-year-old Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs) had won 11 straight bouts before the 40-year-old Povetkin knocked him out. Dereck Chisora (twice), Robert Helenius, former WBO champ Joseph Parker, Oscar Rivas and Lucas Browne were among the opponents he beat between his losses to Anthony Joshua and Povetkin.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily brought boxing to a standstill in mid-March, Whyte had been assured he would finally get his overdue, mandated shot at the WBC title by February 2021.

He was supposed to face the winner of the third Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder fight, though the timing of that title shot was unclear before Whyte lost because Fury-Wilder III has been postponed multiple times due to the coronavirus crisis.

Nevertheless, Whyte is confident he’ll earn his way back into position to fight for a title. He hopes his immediate rematch versus Povetkin (36-2-1, 25 KOs) takes place in December.

“I’m still one of the top heavyweights around,” Whyte said. “It’s not like I’m old or beaten up. I’m still learning. I learned from a harsh mistake. I’m still the same me, ready to go. I can’t wait to get back in there.”

The Jamaican-born boxer painfully learned Saturday that he’ll have to be even more careful in their second meeting.

“He is a very dangerous guy,” Whyte said. “I was bossing it, winning the fight, but I got caught. It wasn’t like I got beaten up round after round. I just got clocked! Fair play to him. He set it up and landed a punch. He’s a good fighter who has beaten a lot of top guys. In the rematch, I will handle business.

“You have to strike while the iron is hot. The time is now. There’s no point waiting into next year. He’s in shape, I’m in shape, let’s get it on. Immediate rematches are usually on fire.”

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