Alexander Povetkin v Dillian Whyte II: Revenge on the rock for the 'Body Snatcher'?

By Sports Desk March 26, 2021

When Dillian Whyte stepped into the ring with Alexander Povetkin last August he had his route to WBC title glory all mapped out.

But a crushing fifth-round uppercut sent him on a diversion that few would have envisaged, packing his bags for a small British overseas territory and a rematch with huge ramifications for his career.

A win on Saturday would silence the doubters and put Whyte firmly back on track, but the fall that a repeat performance would bring is likely to be more precipitous than the drop from the famous Rock of Gibraltar, which stands proudly just a few short miles from where the fight will take place.

Whyte was left to nurse his wounds, both physical and emotional, after a second career loss when the first fight had seemed to be going his way.

Not once but twice he put Povetkin down in the fourth round, only for the Russian to climb to his feet and seal the deal in the next thanks to a colossal uppercut.

And now 'The Body Snatcher' knows he is laying it all on the line this weekend, describing a bout nominally for the WBC 'interim' title as "the most important fight of my career".

The unexpected location is the result of some creative thinking from promoter Eddie Hearn amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the Europa Point Sports Complex able to host 500 spectators for the 'Rumble on the Rock'.

Whyte is the bookmakers' firm favourite, as he was in the first meeting, but painting Povetkin as an underdog who produced a lucky shot would be a long way wide of the mark.

The experienced campaigner will expect to have to soak up some pressure and wait for his moment, but he showed in brutal fashion last time out that he is capable of doing just that.

RECENT HISTORY

It was a thrilling heavyweight clash between the pair in the Matchroom bubble seven months ago, when Anthony Joshua was watching on as a pundit.

Whyte had lost almost a stone and a half since his previous bout with Mariusz Wach, looking sharp in the early stages as he landed the jab frequently.

He refused to let up and had Povetkin downed with a brilliant punch early in round four, yet the veteran fighter was quickly back to his feet.

The assault continued and Povetkin was dropped again in the closing stages of the same round by a venomous left uppercut.

Yet, in a stunning turnaround, the fight was ended by one huge Povetkin blow moments into the fifth.

TALE OF THE TAPE 

DILLIAN WHYTE
Age: 32
Height: 6ft 4ins (193cm) 
Weight: 247.2 lbs
Reach: 78ins  
Professional record: 27-2-0 (18 KOs) 

ALEXANDER POVETKIN
Age: 41
Height: 6ft 2ins (188cm) 
Weight: 228 ¼ lbs
Reach: 75ins  
Professional record: 36-2-1 (25 KOs) 

THE UNDERCARD

Ted Cheeseman takes on JJ Metcalf for the British super-welterweight belt, while Fabio Wardley and Eric Molina meet in an intriguing heavyweight clash.

Ricky Hatton's son Campbell makes his professional debut, the 19-year-old taking on Jesus Ruiz in a super-featherweight contest.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

Whyte is in no doubt as to the quality of his opponent but he is ready to go all-out in pursuit of glory: "I'm constantly improving, he's a good fighter – top amateur, [Olympic] gold medal winner, world champion, all that. But I'm still improving and getting better every day. On Saturday, I'm coming to leave it all on the line once again."

It was a slightly more relaxed tone adopted by Povetkin, who reflected on the location: "I'm very happy to be in this unusual place. I'm relaxed and confident."

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