Whyte ready to deal with pressure and Povetkin to seal WBC title shot

By Sports Desk August 20, 2020

Dillian Whyte is well aware of the dangers posed by Alexander Povetkin but is confident he can deal with the pressure and secure a shot at the WBC title.

Whyte is the governing body's interim champion and is next in line for a shot at the main belt, which is in the possession of Tyson Fury, at some stage in 2021.

However, Fury has a third fight with Deontay Wilder lined up next, leaving his mandatory challenger in need of an opponent as he stays busy ahead of a long-overdue opportunity.

Rather than take a soft option to preserve his status, the 32-year-old will instead take on Povetkin - who has lost just twice as a pro and won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games - in the main event on the fourth and final 'Fight Camp' card organised by promoter Eddie Hearn.

Long-time rival Anthony Joshua will be working for the media at ringside, yet Whyte is only concerned with his next opponent as he has one final hurdle to clear before getting his chance.

"The story of my life has been pressure. It's just another puzzle, another something I have to deal with," he said during a pre-fight news conference on Thursday.

"There is a bit more pressure than usual, obviously, because what's in the future. But that is in the future - I just focus on now and what is in front of me.

"I'm fighting a consummate professional who has been consistent for a long time. I'm not bothered about what Fury is doing or what Wilder is doing, I'll focus on what Povetkin is going to be doing on Saturday. 

"He's probably the most technical fighter I've fought. He's fought a lot of guys as an amateur and is an Olympic gold medallist – he's done it the right way."

Whyte won twice in 2019 despite admitting his mind "wasn't right". However, he has enjoyed an extended training camp in Portugal ahead of facing the experienced Povetkin.

The Russian's only defeats have come against Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko, who prevailed on points after the bout went the distance, but a slimmed-down Whyte is happy to test himself, despite the obvious risk for his career prospects.

"I deal with pressure well. I could have had an easier fight, but I'm still learning," Whyte said while chatting to promoter Hearn.

"I had seven amateur fights and 20-odd as a professional, so I'm still working and learning.

"These are the kind of fights you need to test yourself, the kind you need to grow. This is the kind of fight I need, a fight that tests me, that motivates me, a fight that I can learn from, a fight that I need to think more about what I need to do.

"I could have taken an easier fight, one where I know 80 per cent I'm going to win by knockout anyway, but this is the kind of fight I need, that gives it a little extra edge.  

"That's why I've got myself in the kind of shape I'm in."

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