The heavyweight rematch between Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte has been officially confirmed for March 6.

Povetkin knocked out Whyte in the fifth round of their WBC interim title bout last August and the pair were originally set to meet again in late November at Wembley Arena.

However, the fight was postponed after the Russian was admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

Promoters Matchroom Boxing has announced a new date has now been set, with the rematch now scheduled for around seven weeks' time.

The card will take place behind closed doors at a venue that has yet to be confirmed.

After being laid low by coronavirus last year, Povetkin recently stepped up his training regime as he looks to retain the WBC interim heavyweight title with another victory over Whyte.

World of Boxing Promotions Company, who represent the 41-year-old, posted on Twitter on Friday: "Alexander has fully recovered and started his training camp on January 12. 

"He is progressing well in the first stage of his preparation. We hope the second fight will live up to everyone's expectations and that Povetkin will deliver another spectacular finish."

The winner of the rematch will be in line to face either Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua later in 2021 for the heavyweight world title.

Meanwhile, it was also confirmed on Friday that Josh Warrington, who has not been in action since October 2019, will defend his IBF featherweight belt against Mauricio Lara on February 13.

Anthony Joshua will attempt to keep Britain at the centre of the heavyweight universe when he defends his IBF, WBA and WBO titles against Kubrat Pulev at Wembley.

Tyson Fury's stunning defeat of Deontay Wilder in February secured the WBC crown, meaning he and countryman Joshua are in possession of all four major heavyweight belts.

It marked a swift reverse of the titles residing Stateside with Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr, following the latter's remarkable and quickly avenged upset win against Joshua in June 2019.

For the vast majority of boxing history, supremacy among the big men has been the preserve of American fighters, with well-worn jokes about the horizontal British heavyweight thrown in for good measure.

But Joshua and Fury's pre-eminence is not punctuation of US dominance. Indeed, for much of the 21st century, fighters from eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics have held sway.

Bulgaria's Pulev will hope to derail Joshua and join their number on Saturday, placing himself among a disparate batch of fighters - some who dominated to the extent they defined a generation and others who are possibly only household names within their own households.

 

VITALI KLITSCHKO

The baton passed from the famed heavyweights of the 1990s to the coming generation when Lennox Lewis uncharacteristically slugged his way to victory over Vitali Klitschko in Los Angeles in June 2003. The last man standing from his era after comprehensively beating Mike Tyson, Lewis was given hell by "Dr Steelhammer" but managed to inflict enough damage for the challenger to be stopped on cuts after six gruelling rounds.

Lewis never boxed again and Klitschko never lost again, winning 13 fights in succession either side of a four-year retirement. He lifted the WBC title and settled a family grudge by stopping Corrie Sanders in April 2004. He was never without the famous green belt in the ring up until he hung up his gloves in 2012 to focus full-time on a political career than now sees Vitali serving at the Mayor of Kyiv.

WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO

The younger Klitschko was the first eastern European to lift a heavyweight title in the 21st century when he twice floored Chris Byrd on the way to a unanimous decision to win the WBO belt in October 2000. Byrd became champion in his previous fight when, way down on the cards, Vitali withdrew on his stool due to a shoulder injury. It meant Vitali was returning a favour against Sanders, who demolished Wladimir over two harrowing rounds in March 2003.

Another knockout loss followed a little over a year with the vacant WBO strap on the line against Lamon Brewster. At that stage, it was impossible to foresee the imperious dominance that would follow a second win over Byrd for the IBF and 18 successful defences. Closing out his career with losses to Fury and Joshua carried a heavy sense changing eras, as with his brother and Lewis a decade and a half earlier.

NIKOLAI VALUEV

All the men on this list could lay claim to the moniker of "Beast from the East" but none would be able to pull it off as well as the preposterously proportioned Valuev. Standing at 7ft and tipping the scales at over 300lbs, he became the tallest and heaviest heavyweight champion in history. Valuev's skills were akin to a rudimentary club fighter but he was just far too big for most opponents to handle.

Each of his two stints as WBA ruler began with prophetically forgettable points wins over John Ruiz and after a 2008 loss to a pot-shotting David Haye he walked away to a varied post-fight career. Like Klitschko he entered politics, winning election to the State Duma in Russia's 2011 parliamentary election. He also became an unlikely face of children's television in his homeland, presenting the long-running "Good Night, Little Ones!".

SIARHEI LIAKHOVICH

Liakhovich's period reign as WBO champion lasted seven months. The Belarussian won a unanimous decision win over Brewster in April 2006, despite taking a knee in the seventh. He was up on the cards when Shannon Briggs dramatically knocked him through the ropes during the closing seconds of his first defence. Briggs was the last American to get his hands on any portion of the heavyweight title before Wilder's WBC reign began in 2015. Two years earlier, the "Bronze Bomber" left Liakhovich quivering on the canvas after a terrifying first-round KO.

OLEG MASKAEV

Three months before Briggs' late show against Liakhovich, Maskaev battered one-time Lewis conqueror Hasim Rahman to defeat inside the final minute of their August 2006 rematch in Las Vegas. A product of the Soviet amateur system, Maskaev based himself in the US for the majority of his professional career. He was 37 by the time he ripped the WBC crown from Rahman and, after a successful defence against Okello Peter in Moscow, the Kazakh-born fighter was knocked out by Samuel Peter - the "Nigerian Nightmare" who was himself stopped by a returning Vitali Klitschko next time out.

RUSLAN CHAGAEV

If the WBA was a sofa, Chagaev would be the loose change they continue to find lurking between the cushions. He first won the organisation's belt with a majority decision win over Valuev in April 2007, although subsequent illness and injury led to him being declared "champion in recess". As such, the WBA belt was not on the line when his corner waved off a June 2009 shellacking at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko after nine rounds.

The organisation then elected to install Chagaev not as its champion but number one challenger and he dropped an August 2011 decision to Alexander Povetkin for the vacant belt. The story did not end there, however, as Chagaev and the unheralded Fres Oquendo were selected to box for the WBA's vacant "regular" title in July 2014. Almost two years and one competitive round later, Chagaev was knocked out by Lucas Browne, who then failed a drugs test. The Uzbek was given back his title, only to be stripped in July 2016 for failing to pay the WBA sanctioning fees for that already barely remembered Oquendo contest, seemingly ending the saga.

SULTAN IBRAGIMOV

Not one to linger like Chagaev, Russia's Sydney 2000 heavyweight silver medallist Ibragimov outpointed Briggs in his 22nd professional bout to lift the WBO belt in June 2007. Under the tutelage of Jeff Mayweather, he comfortably beat the great Evander Holyfield in his first defence. A unification showdown with Wladimir Klitschko was most notable for the Madison Square Garden crowd booing a safety-first affair. With that sole defeat, Ibragimov was gone, retiring in 2009 due to persistent injuries to his left hand.

ALEXANDER POVETKIN

Another decorated amateur, Povetkin won super-heavyweight gold at the 2004 Olympics and made four defences of the WBA title after beating Chagaev. To repeat a theme, all roads led to an uncompromising Klitschko, with Wladimir sending him to the canvas four times during a landslide Moscow triumph in October 2013. Failed drugs tests did little for Povetkin's wider reputation and put paid to a proposed meeting with Wilder.

A promising start unravelled to a seventh-round stoppage when challenging Joshua in September 2018, although Povetkin sensationally recovered from two knockdowns to ice Dillian Whyte this year and re-establish himself as a major player in boxing's glamour division at the age of 41.

Russian heavyweight Alexander Povetkin has been admitted to hospital with COVID-19 and his fight against Dillian Whyte has been postponed, promoter Eddie Hearn said.

Povetkin and Whyte were due to fight at Wembley Arena on November 21, but their clash has been provisionally moved to a January 30 date.

Hearn suggested Whyte should instead tackle British rival and WBC champion Tyson Fury before the end of the year.

Fury is planning a December 5 title defence and German fighter Agit Kabayel is his expected opponent, but Hearn tweeted: "Dillian Whyte v Tyson Fury anyone?"

The clash between Povetkin and Whyte was set to be a rematch following their dramatic August showdown, when Povetkin won with a fifth-round knockout, despite having been dominated and knocked down twice in the early stages of the fight.

Hearn, the head of Matchroom Boxing, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: "Unfortunately we got the news today that Alexander Povetkin is in hospital after testing positive for COVID-19.

"The fight will now be rescheduled to a target date of Jan 30. An announcement on our Nov 21 show will be made shortly."

Hearn added on Matchroom's website: "Firstly we want to wish Alexander Povetkin a speedy recovery.

"This is a challenging time for shows. There will be lots of ups and downs over the next few months. We look forward to the fight happening in late January."

Povetkin holds the WBC interim heavyweight title thanks to his previous win over Whyte.

Dillian Whyte's opportunity to avenge his shock loss to Alexander Povetkin will come on November 21, it has been confirmed.

Matchroom announced the heavyweight rematch on Tuesday, with the countdown now on for Whyte as he seeks to put last month's defeat to the Russian behind him.

The Briton was floored by his 40-year-old opponent in the fifth round, having dominated the fight up to that point, with the loss halting his hopes of landing a mandatory shot at the WBC championship.

Venue details for the second showdown between the pair are to be confirmed at a later date, as it is not clear whether fans will be able to attend.

"I'm over the moon to have the rematch," Whyte said in quotes reported by Sky Sports. "As soon as I got out of the ring, I was looking for confirmation that the fight would be on.

"I can't wait to get back in the ring and get back what is rightfully mine.

"I'm looking to do what I said I would the first time, and that's beat Alexander Povetkin."

Povetkin said: "I've rested well, spent time with my family, and now that the date of the rematch is known, I will soon return to my training camp and prepare as thoroughly as I did for the first fight."

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has confirmed Tyson Fury will have "no restrictions" placed on him as the governing body's heavyweight champion, clearing the way for a unification fight with Anthony Joshua.

Fury claimed the title in February with a sensational stoppage win against Deontay Wilder, though the pair are due to meet again.

The WBC had stated Dillian Whyte would be the opponent for a mandatory defence by their champion in early 2021, provided he came through against Alexander Povetkin on Saturday.

However, Whyte saw his title hopes disappear when he was on the wrong end of an upset result, removing a potential hurdle standing in the way of a showdown between Fury and Joshua.

"We don't speculate, but the time limitations which were put by the WBC board, which had Dillian Whyte won, the winner of the third Fury-Wilder fight has to fight without an intervening bout against Dillian Whyte," Sulaiman told Sky Sports.

"That now has changed. Dillian has lost, so there are no limitations at the moment for the winner of Fury-Wilder to do any fight whatsoever."

He added: "In the WBC, there will be no restrictions whatsoever right now.

"An ultimate unification would be something that everyone would like to see. It's a matter that brings boxing to the highest level."

It was announced in June that Fury had reached an agreement over a two-fight deal with Joshua, who holds the IBF, WBA and WBO belts.

Meanwhile, in a video posted on social media on Monday, Whyte reiterated his desire to activate the rematch clause in his contract with Povetkin, who was knocked down twice before producing a stunning uppercut to triumph in the fifth round. 

"I'm safe and sound. Congratulations to Alexander Povetkin for a great fight, I look forward to doing it again," Whyte said in the message.

"It's heavyweight boxing - it happens. When you fight good fighters, you win some, you lose some.  

"I'm all good. I'm ready for the rematch, hopefully everybody can get the rematch done for November, December time. I spoke to Eddie [Hearn] this morning and he's on it."

Dillian Whyte felt he was "bossing" Alexander Povetkin prior to his devastating knock-out loss as the WBC title hopeful requested a rematch.

Whyte's hopes of landing a mandatory shot at the WBC championship were halted following his shock defeat against Povetkin in Saturday's stunning heavyweight bout.

After dominating the opening four rounds and downing Povetkin twice in the fourth, WBC contender Whyte was sensationally knocked out with a massive uppercut in the fifth.

With his plans for a mandatory fight against the champion on hold, British boxer Whyte (27-2) told promoter Eddie Hearn via Matchroom Boxing's Instagram: "Can we get the rematch in December?

"Okay cool. I'm good, I'm good, it's one of them things where he just landed. I was bossing it.

"It is what it is. Rematch, it's all good. That's what heavyweight boxing is about."

A stunned Hearn said Whyte will exercise his rematch clause with Povetkin, adding: "I can't quite believe it. When the punch landed, I felt like I was in some dream.

"The fight was over, virtually, Povetkin hadn't started well, I thought Dillian Whyte was measuring up. He had a great finish to the round when he knocked Povetkin down.

"I felt that it was over, but this is the drama of the sport, this is the drama of heavyweight boxing. One punch can change everything.

"I'm pretty much lost for words, if I'm honest with you. We have a rematch clause. The first thing Dillian said was 'Get me that rematch, get me that rematch.

"Povetkin is mandatory now, but the only person who would get called to negotiate fighting the winner of Fury-Wilder was Dillian Whyte.

"We'll exercise that rematch clause. We'll look to make that before the end of the year and it's a huge fight."

It was a memorable evening for former WBA heavyweight champion and Russian opponent Povetkin (36-2-1), who said: "I didn't feel I would finish the fight like this. I went down twice but it was OK, not too much damage.

"I was watching his fights and I was thinking he was missing uppercuts from left and the right, so I was training for it. It's probably one of my best ever punches."

Dillian Whyte's hopes of landing a mandatory shot at the WBC championship were halted as he suffered a knock-out defeat to Alexander Povetkin in a thrilling heavyweight clash.

In a fight that Whyte had dominated for the opening four rounds, the Briton, who would have been entitled to a fight with Tyson Fury had he defeated Povetkin, was downed in the fifth by a stunning uppercut from the 40-year-old Russian.

Povetkin had been downed twice in the fourth round after Whyte's fast start at 'Fight Camp', yet the latter was ultimately no match for Povetkin's power.

And with Anthony Joshua – who had publicly doubted his compatriot before the fight – watching on as a pundit, Whyte was left to congratulate Povetkin as his hopes of a title bout faded.

Having lost almost one-and-a-half stone since his previous fight, Whyte looked sharp in the opening exchanges, landing some swift early jabs, though Povetkin responded with blows to the body.

Povetkin could not prevent Whyte landing more sharp shots to his frame in the second, and the Russian's legs dipped in the third when he was clubbed with two hefty hooks.

Whyte refused to let up the pressure 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-hand uppercut.

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

The 16-stone former WBA heavyweight champion landed a brilliant uppercut with his left, clubbing Whyte to the floor.

Whyte recovered quickly, but the damage was done as Povetkin celebrated a remarkable triumph.

Dillian Whyte puts his interim WBC heavyweight title – as well as several years of hard work – on the line when he takes on Alexander Povetkin in unlikely surroundings. 

Whyte has been stood at the front of the queue for a considerable time now, waiting patiently for his opportunity at the reigning champion, which was Deontay Wilder for so long. 

However, the American's reign was emphatically ended by Tyson Fury earlier this year and, with that duo set to meet again next, Whyte is left hanging around a little longer. 

Still, now at least the situation is clear: win on Saturday and it will be a title chance next, or alternatively elevation in his status with the WBC, should the champion opt to vacate rather than face his mandatory challenger. 

Povetkin, though, is a tough hurdle to clear. Whyte could have taken a softer option, considering what is at stake for him. The Russian has only lost twice in a long professional career, plus won gold at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Their intriguing meeting tops the bill in the fourth and final 'Fight Camp' series staged by promoters Matchroom, a unique concept staged within the company's grounds in Essex to combat the issues around putting on a live sporting event amid a global health pandemic. 

Having enjoyed a lengthy training camp in Portugal to prepare for a must-win outing, Whyte has been staying on site in a motor home to avoid running into Povetkin too often on the premises in the build-up.

Thankfully for the audience watching on, there will be nothing to keep the pair apart once the bell sounds.

RECENT HISTORY

Whyte has admitted this week that external issues affected him in 2019, when he had two fights. After the first of them, a points win over Oscar Rivas in July, he was initially charged with testing positive for a banned substance by UK Anti-Doping, though was later cleared and reinstated to his ranking with the WBC.

In December, Whyte was back fighting in the ring against Mariusz Wach, though a lack of preparation time led to a laboured display in a 10-rounder that went the distance in Diriyah. It was the last outing with long-time coach Mark Tibbs, too - Xavier Miller will now be working the corner, aided by late addition Dave Coldwell. 

Povetkin was on the same Saudi Arabia card as Whyte, involved in a see-saw battle with Michael Hunter that ended up as a split-decision draw. The 40-year-old's other outing last year was a points triumph over Hughie Fury in what was his return to action after being stopped by Anthony Joshua 11 months earlier.

For comparison, Povetkin stopped Wach in the 12th round when they met in 2015, while his other loss in the paid ranks came against Wladimir Klitschko in 2013. Dropped no less than four times and also deducted a point in the penultimate round, he managed to go the distance but was comprehensively outclassed by the Ukrainian.

TALE OF THE TAPE

DILLIAN WHYTE 

Age: 32
Height: 6ft 4ins (193cm)
Weight: 18st 6oz (252 pounds)
Reach: 78ins 
Professional record: 27-1 (18 KOs)
Major career titles: WBC heavyweight (interim)

ALEXANDER POVETKIN

Age: 40
Height: 6ft 2ins (188cm)
Weight: 16st 5lbs (224 pounds)
Reach: 75ins 
Professional record: 35-2-1 (24 KOs)
Major career titles: WBA heavyweight

THE UNDERCARD

While the big men are set to take centre stage, the rematch between Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon has the potential to steal the show. 

Taylor won the first meeting by a majority decision in New York to retain her four world titles. The two lightweights switch from the famous Madison Square Garden to Eddie Hearn's back yard, yet a lack of a crowd should not take away anything from the occasion. Persoon believes she won just over a year ago, so the Belgian police offer will be out to deliver her own version of justice.

As for the rest, heavyweight prospect Alen Babic and Shawndell Winters have been verbally sparring in the build-up to their clash, while Jack Cullen takes on fellow super-middleweight Zak Chelli and Luther Clay meets Chris Kongo at welter.

WHAT THE FIGHTERS HAVE TO SAY...

Whyte on Tyson Fury: "One minute he says he will fight me, the next minute he says he won't. Tyson talks a lot of rubbish - he just says whatever he thinks."

Whyte on Povetkin: "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."

Taylor on Persoon: "I'm ready for anything Delfine throws at me. As long as I'm strong, that's all that matters to me."

Persoon to BBC Sport: "I have money from my job so there's no problem. The honour is important for me rather than the money. If you said I had to box for free and win, I'd say no problem."

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."

Dillian Whyte remains unconvinced he will get the chance to fight Tyson Fury, saying the reigning WBC heavyweight champion "talks a lot of rubbish" as he waits for a shot at the title. 

Whyte is the governing body's interim champion, but it remains unclear exactly when he will get to fight the holder of the belt - if at all. 

Fury is set to face Deontay Wilder next, having dethroned his rival earlier this year with a sensational stoppage win. A third bout between the pair is scheduled to happen, though a date for the trilogy is yet to be confirmed.

The winner of that meeting has been ordered by the WBC to next face Whyte, who goes up against Alexander Povetkin on Saturday as he patiently stands by for his opportunity. 

However, the mandatory challenger is not sure Fury will sign up to face him in 2021. 

"One minute he says he will fight me, the next minute he says he won't," Whyte said during a media conference call.

"Tyson talks a lot of rubbish - he just says whatever he thinks.  

"He's someone who doesn't stick to anything he says, he's always saying something today and then something else tomorrow.  

"His mind is like the wind - it changes direction every few seconds."

Whyte has agreed to take on the dangerous Povetkin in the fourth and final event in Matchroom's Fight Camp series, staged at the promotion's headquarters in Essex. 

The Russian has only lost twice in his career - to Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko – but Whyte is prepared for anything Povetkin throws his way. 

"It's a hard fight - no one can ever say Povetkin is an easy fight. We've seen what he does, he’s been consistent for 15 years at this level. He's beaten top guys," Whyte said. 

"He gave Anthony Joshua a problem a year ago, he gave Wladimir Klitschko a problem a few years ago. He's a very strong, very determined guy, technically sound and carries a good punch.  

"People say he's 40, but guys are going on longer and being stronger and fighting a lot better as they got older these days.

"They are probably looking and me and think I make technical mistakes, and other things, I know they think they can beat me and stop me, so who knows what their game plan is? 

"He might come out and try and go for it early, he might and try and wait and go for it down the stretch. I’m prepared for whatever.  

"If it needs to be a 12-round war or a boxing fight, whatever, or a destruction, I'm prepared for whatever."

Dillian Whyte has announced he is no longer working with trainer Mark Tibbs as the heavyweight prepares for his fight with Alexander Povetkin on August 22.

Whyte will be in action on the fourth and final card of Matchroom's 'Fight Camp' schedule next month, with all events staged in the garden of promoter Eddie Hearn's house.

However, the 32-year-old will not have Tibbs working his corner when he takes on Russian Povetkin, revealing they have gone their separate ways in a post on Instagram.

"Just to let everyone know Mark Tibbs and I are no longer working together as boxer and trainer," Whyte – who is the interim WBC champion - wrote to go along with a picture of the pair.

"I'm training in Portugal, Mark has a young family, and his own new gym in the UK. As it stands it just hasn't worked out in the way we both hoped it would. 

"Mark came into my team four years ago and has helped me turn into the world-class fighter I am today.

"Mark is a great trainer and I will always be grateful to him and his dad for all they have done."

Whyte has a 27-1 record, his solitary defeat coming against long-time rival Anthony Joshua in December 2015, though he's won 11 on the spin since that setback.

He is waiting for a shot at the WBC title, as champion Tyson Fury is set to face Deontay Wilder – the man he dethroned thanks to a stoppage win earlier this year – in his next outing.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed a series of August fight nights will be hosted in his garden, with Dillian Whyte's heavyweight showdown against Alexander Povetkin the standout bout.

Boxing, like most other sports, went on a hiatus earlier this year when the coronavirus pandemic spread across the world.

However, boxing and UFC cards have recently returned in the United States behind closed doors, and Matchroom promoter Hearn had spoken of his ambitious plans to resume boxing in the United Kingdom too in a special ring built in his garden.

Those events have now been finalised and Matchroom's 'Fight Camp' will see boxers brought into a bubble before fighting at Hearn's house in Essex across four nights from August 1 to August 22.

The final night will see Katie Taylor put her undisputed world lightweight titles on the line against an as-yet-unnamed opponent before Whyte and Povetkin meet in a WBC interim heavyweight title fight.

"We've of course got Madison Square Garden, this is Matchroom Square Garden," Hearn told Sky Sports.

"We've been working diligently with the British Boxing Board of Control for the last three months. We're in a position where we know the procedures that have to take place to make the sport safe to return.

"We feel like we've done it at the right time, we feel like everything's safe. We've got a brilliant schedule of fights lined up and we can't wait to bring boxing back to your screens.

“We have no crowd, we don't have the 80,000 singing 'Sweet Caroline' and have the energy of the audience, but what we do have is the beauty of boxing, the rawness of the sport.

“We need to make sure those fights are compelling."

Whyte has long been the WBC mandatory challenger but the holder of that belt, Tyson Fury, is set to face Deontay Wilder for a third time after taking the strap off the American in February.

A path to a future fight with Fury has been further complicated by the title-holder having already agreed two bouts against fellow Briton Anthony Joshua, who has the rest of the division's major belts.

Four years ago today, Anthony Joshua claimed a portion of the world heavyweight title for the first time.

Entering the O2 Arena to a hero's reception, Joshua's 16th fight as a professional pitted him against the undefeated but largely untested American Charles Martin.

As was the case throughout his early career, the 2012 Olympic champion got the job done in double-quick time, decking the rangy southpaw twice with crisp right hands in the second round to seal a TKO triumph and the IBF belt.

Since then, however, it has not always been plain sailing.

Here, we look back at AJ's record in world title fights since becoming champion.


Dominic Breazeale

Joshua did not waste much time in booking a first defence of his IBF strap and was back in the ring at the end of June 2016 to face another American.

Breazeale arrived with an unbeaten 17-fight record and was taller than the champion. He had fought at the 2012 Olympics as well, only his bid for gold ended in the preliminary round.

The Californian is nicknamed 'Trouble' but he failed to provide many issues for his opponent on the night. Joshua tenderised him for several rounds before a knockout arrived in the seventh. The beaten fighter earned plaudits for his bravery but was simply outclassed at the O2 Arena.


Eric Molina

Poor Molina was served up as the appetiser before the main event in December 2016. The Texan had pushed Wilder into the ninth round 18 months earlier, but was blown away inside three in Manchester.

Joshua scored a knockdown with a big right hand and while Molina beat the count, referee Steve Gray called a halt to proceedings soon after the resumption. Wladimir Klitschko watched on from close quarters before climbing into the ring to confirm he would face the reigning IBF champion next.

Molina, meanwhile, tested positive for a banned substance after the bout. He was handed a two-year ban in May 2018, though by then he had already had two outings since losing to Joshua.


Wladimir Klitschko

Klitschko was undoubtedly the biggest test of Joshua's career. The cynics suggested the Londoner had benefited from a soft schedule in the pros, but a meeting with the experienced Ukrainian in April 2017 looked anything but easy.

As well as the IBF strap, the vacant IBO and WBA titles were on the line in front of a full house at Wembley Stadium. The meeting of two fighters at contrasting stages of their careers did not disappoint either, serving up a see-saw contest that captivated the audience.

Joshua scored a knockdown in round five but was down himself in the next. However, Klitschko failed to capitalise on a rival apparently running on empty, allowing the home favourite to regroup and force a stunning stoppage in the 11th, with Klitschko downed again before being saved by referee David Fields.


Carlos Takam

Joshua was due to take on Kubrat Pulev in October 2017 in Cardiff, only for the IBF mandatory challenger to pull out through injury. In stepped Takam, a teak-tough replacement with a reputation for making life difficult for his foes.

He certainly left a mark on the Briton, an early clash of heads drawing blood from Joshua's nose, while Takam suffered a nasty cut in a fourth round that also saw him knocked down.

However, the substitute stuck around until he was eventually stopped midway through the 10th. Takam felt he could have carried on, but Joshua extended his record of wins inside the distance to 20 after a less-than-memorable outing.


Joseph Parker

The unification clash between two unbeaten heavyweights in their prime saw Joshua head back to the Welsh capital at the end of March 2018. In the opposite corner was Parker, a New Zealander based in Las Vegas who held the WBO title.

For the first time, Joshua was unable to get the job done inside the distance. His risk-free policy of staying out of range allowed him to put rounds in the bank, leading to a landslide verdict from the judges after a slow-burner that was more intriguing than entertaining.

Parker – returning after surgery on both elbows – was a tough nut to crack but barely threatened an upset. He achieved the honour of becoming the first boxer to take AJ 12 rounds, but left the ring minus his belt. For Joshua, it was a performance that demonstrated he is about far more than just raw power.

Alexander Povetkin

A showdown for the undisputed heavyweight crown against then-WBC king Deontay Wilder continued to prove elusive and, as the American knockout specialist began to make plans for an alternative path with Tyson Fury in situ, Joshua had dangerous Russian veteran Alexander Povetkin next on his agenda.

It was another Wembley extravaganza, although the fire show that greeted the champion to the ring mingled with damp September air and Joshua did not have it all his own way early on – Povetkin steadying the man 11 years his junior and bloodying his nose with a hook at close quarters.

Joshua, who had the final stages of his build-up compromised by a heavy cold, weathered the storm and the finish was spectacular when it arrived in round seven. A left hook, straight right combination sent Povetkin crashing to the floor and he duly crumpled under the follow-up barrage.

Andy Ruiz Jr

Joshua's dream American debut abruptly unravelled into the nightmare of being on the receiving end of one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight history at New York's Madison Square Garden in June last year.

Ruiz was in as a late replacement for motor-mouthed drugs cheat Jarrell Miller and the Mexican's kindly demeanour and rotund physique did an excellent job of obscuring the danger that lay in his deceptively fast hands.

After a slow start, Joshua decked his foe with a left hook off the right uppercut but, as he looked to close the show, a chopping Ruiz right to the temple left him on bandy legs. The champion never regained his equilibrium and was hanging on after going down twice in a topsy-turvy third. Two more trips to the floor in round seven left the Briton looking battered, baffled and beaten.

Andy Ruiz Jr

With little hesitation, Joshua exercised his rematch clause and both men reconvened in the unusual surrounding of Saudi Arabia for a fight dubbed 'The Clash on the Dunes' last December.

Joshua came in lighter and more mobile, while Ruiz… didn't. Boxing, moving and working expertly off a sharp jab, the Briton banked rounds and it quickly became clear the champion's reign would be a brief one.

Margins of 119-109 and 118-110 twice on the judges' scorecards underlined a story of almost total domination.

Dillian Whyte wants a "tear-up" with Alexander Povetkin for his next fight and says he will not be waste his time waiting for a WBC title shot. 

Wilder had his suspension lifted by the WBC last month after UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) dropped charges against the British heavyweight.

The 31-year-old was cleared by after initially being charged for testing positive for a banned substance, but has now had his mandatory challenger status reinstated.

Whyte will be due a title shot around February 2021, but claims champion Deontay Wilder does not want to fight him, so the man nicknamed 'The Body Snatcher' has turned his attention on Russian veteran Povetkin.

The Londoner told Sky Sports: "He [Whyte's promoter Eddie Hearn] mentioned April 18 in an interview, so I guess that's the date.

"Probably in London or Manchester, something like that. The O2 gets booked up a lot, so either London or Manchester. They are two good venues and it would be good to move to a different part of the country some time as well. Manchester Arena would be good."

Whyte added on a potential bout with Povetkin: "If he wants it, he can get it. It's going to be a tear-up, because he is not really a mover and I'm not really a mover, so he's a come forward fighter and I come forward.

"We're going to have a scrap. Povetkin comes to fight doesn't he. He doesn't come to mess about. I'm the same, so let's get it.

"Let's see who has got the best left hook around."

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