SAN DIEGO, Calif. – August 22, 2020 – Matchroom Boxing’s “Fight Camp” wound up its four week run with a bang, courtesy of Alexander Povetkin.
The reinvigorated veteran Povetkin of Russia (36-2-1, 25 KOs) looked to be headed for defeat after Dillian Whyte of Brixton (27-2, 18 KOs) scored two flash knockdowns in the fourth round of their WBC interim heavyweight title fight. But with heavyweights, it’s never over until it’s over.
Povetkin came back in the fifth round to deliver a blow to Whyte’s hope of contending for a title fight anytime soon, if ever. He threw a glancing right to the body to divert Whyte, then landed as pretty a left uppercut as you will ever see in boxing, laying Whyte out cold on his back. There was no need for a referee count as medical personnel swarmed Whyte. The official time was 30 seconds of round 6. Povetkin said it was probably the best knockout of his 15 year career.
Povetkin admitted even he was surprised by the ending. “I didn’t feel that I would finish the fight like this, but I was pretty confident” in a win.
“In the fourth round. I went down twice but that’s OK, he didn’t do much damage. I was watching his fights, and taking account he was missing (seeing) uppercuts from the left and from the right. So in training, I was training both shots,” said Povetkin.
A shocked Eddie Hearn said he couldn’t quite believe it. “When the punch landed, it was like some dream … A lot of people felt it was over. This is the drama of the sport we love. One punch can change everything,” said Hearn.
“It is a shock, we knew how dangerous Alexander Povetkin was. But Dillian Whyte virtually had that fight in the bag. It was just a thrilling knockout, a thrilling night,” said Hearn.
When the winner of the fight was presumed to be Whyte, he seemed headed for a mandatory title fight with the winner of the third Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury fight later this year. But now with Povetkin in position, Hearn said plans are changing.
“Povetkin is mandatory, but the only one who would get called is Dillian Whyte. In a way, I guess that frees up Tyson Fury to fight Anthony Joshua after Deontay Wilder,” said Hearn. “I felt Dillian Whyte deserved that, but he did lose.”
Whyte and Povetkin have a rematch clause, but Hearn said Whyte would not fight Povetkin right away, and would need recovery time after such a brutal loss. “This is the ups and downs of boxing. It’s the most dramatic sport in the world. No one at home will sleep tonight. Sometimes it’s brutal when you see people you admire like Dillian Whyte lose his position and lose tonight,” said Hearn.
Povetkin, who turns 41 years old on September 2, won’t be sleeping for a different reason. Moments after the bout, he jumped on Instagram live to celebrate with his team and with his fans.
Prior to the bout, we asked Povetkin whether he expected to still be fighting at this age, he smiled and shrugged it off. “I didn’t think about my age. At the same time, it’s just a number. I’m so happy to be on this level still at my age, but it’s nothing special for me.” Heavyweights don’t age like smaller fighters. Povetkin got into excellent condition and looked stronger than expected against Hughie Fury and Michael Hunter, the last a split draw we believe Povetkin won.
The pressure was all on Whyte to get the rematch with Anthony Joshua he wanted, or getting called as Fury’s mandatory defense. When he saw it in his grasp, he got careless. After Whyte’s rough ride, the boxing world’s sympathy is with him, but its admiration is with Povetkin.
Replay: Taylor wins rematch with Persoon
If you enjoyed the first bout between Katie Taylor of Ireland (16-0, 6 7Os) and Delfine Persoon (44-3, 18 KOs) of Belgium, you were just as pleased by the second fight between the two lightweight competitors. Once again, Taylor held off a relentless Persoon to win a unanimous decision. As before, two cards read 96-94, with the third card a much wider 98-93.
Taylor successfully defended her women’s IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO, and Ring Magazine lightweight titles, likely setting up a bout with American Jessica McCaskill, the women’s unified welterweight champion after her victory last weekend over Cecilia Braekhus.
“I knew it was going to be a tough, tough fight. I had to dig deep at some stages during the fight,” said Taylor. “It’s always going to be tough, you can’t relax at all, she’s going to come and come and come. That’s why it’s always tough against her.
“I think I was a lot more convincing tonight. You’re going to have to dig deep and show a lot of heart at some point,” said Taylor.
Persoon is a pressure fighter, using a relentless pace and attack to force Taylor into a brawl she doesn’t want.Her connect percentage could be higher, so she must rely on volume punching. But Persoon began to land with more accuracy in the second half of the fight, and moved in closer to dig to the body.
Despite the best advice from her corner, Taylor found herself roughing it up with Persoon more often than she wanted. If Persoon had three minutes to tire Taylor out, the result might have been different this time.
But as in the previous fight, Persoon’s attack and work rate wasn’t enough against Taylor’s crisp hooks and movement to convince the British judges to see it her way. “This time I should respect the result. I feel like I had not enough power this time to hurt her. If you don’t hurt her, she’s technical, she wins the round. It’s my respect, she deserves it,” said Persoon.
Persoon suffered a significant cut to the cheekbone in round two from a punch. She said after the fight she also suffered a broken nose. “It was eight rounds with my nose,” said Persoon said coming up from super featherweight where she feels more comfortable was a factor, as the extra weight made her slower.
Without a doubt, both women brought every bit of effort and delivered all the action fight fans could hope for. When Taylor was asked whether she’d make it a trilogy with Persoon, she laughed “Oh give me a break!”
McCaskill wasted no time making her wishes clear with a message to Taylor and her team.
— Matchroom: Fight Camp Tonight! (@MatchroomBoxing) August 22, 2020
Taylor is likely to get the same kind of fight from McCaskill, who’s younger and stronger than Persoon. It’s a fight fans can eagerly look forward to seeing.
Are you not entertained by Alen Babic?
Entering the ring to the music from the movie “Gladiator,” former kickboxer Alen Babic (4-0, 4 KOs) brought down American Shawndell Winters of Chicago (13-4, 12 KOs) with a left and two rights hooks to the head at 2:20 in the second round, living up to his nickname “The Savage.”
“I performed like I said, like Alen. He’s a savage, he’s crazy. Believe me, it’s not talking. I’m like Jack Dempsey, he didn’t train. This is my approach, one or two rounds, I don’t see my fights going past three rounds. I go in to kill. If someone kills me, that’s OK. I want to fight the day after tomorrow. It’s not about the money, I want to fight for the people. I want to be different,” declared the brash Croatian heavyweight, who said he’d like to fight countryman Filip Hrgovic because “I don’t like him.” Bebic understands Luther Clay (13-2, 5 KOs) vs boxing is as much entertainment as sport.
Welterweight Chris Kongo (12-0, 7 KOs) put on a strong effort to eventually wear down Luther Clay (13-2, 5 KOs), winning a minor WBO title with a referee stoppage at 2:44 of round 9. “There was no way I was leaving with this (the belt) around my waist,” said Kongo. “I knew I had the speed, I knew I had the power, it’s been 16 months since I’ve been there so it felt kind of new to me. In the middle rounds, I hurt him and I knew I could get him out of there.” Kongo will now have ranking in an extremely competitive division.
British super middleweights Jack Cullen (18-2-1, 9 KO) and Zak Chelli (7-1-1, 3 KOs) fought to a ten round draw, though most observers felt the underdog Chelli won behind a strong jab. Scores were 97-93 for Chelli, 96-95 for Cullen, and the 95-95 draw.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities.
Copyright © 2020 by Falcon Valley Group