This time there was no major resurrection.
Seven months after his night of missed opportunities and a hard landing on Eddie Hearn’s lawn, Dillian Whyte clubbed his way to quick and impressive revenge against Alexander Povetkin in the Iberian Peninsula.
Whether Whyte will ever become a fully convincing contender for the heavyweight title is open to some debate. But for now, with this fourth-round exorcism of a ghost ending his career, his position as the WBC’s mandatory challenger is being restored.
Dillian Whyte recovered from despair with a stunning fourth-round knockout win
The Briton flew Povetkin in the fourth lap after dominating from the first seconds
Whyte has returned his WBC interim heavyweight title and has revived his boxing career
The way it happened was pretty brilliant, with Povetkin rattled by a hard right side and then hit by the left in a break. That it came in fourth had some significance, as that was also the round in which Whyte dropped the Russian twice in August, only to let him off the hook and fall out of hell in that uppercut a few minutes later.
This time he left nothing to chance, although it should be noted that he fought against an opponent who from the ring walks seemed a shadow of the strength that won world and Olympic titles. At the age of 41, that’s to be expected, especially given his battle with Covid in the months since he was upset in Essex.
But that shouldn’t be credit to Whyte, who mixed his usual malice with an effective jab and dominated every session of this fight. What now? That remains to be seen. Hearn suggested a fight with Deontay Wilder could be a target for the summer, and beyond the plan will no doubt include his highly anticipated shot at some or all of the titles currently held by Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.
Whyte let Povetkin stumble around the ring on the opening round and the Russian never came to rest there
Whyte said, “I believe I can become world champion, that I can beat anyone.”
About the fight, the 32-year-old added: “I made him pay. I was done immediately (after the last fight). I am sorry that it is not ready in the first round.
‘If he wants a retake, I’ll do it again. The first time I shouldn’t have lost. I made a foolish mistake and paid for it.
“I got it through this time and then said ‘let me relax’. He is an Olympic gold medalist. I’m happy.’
Wilder kept his hands up on the second and third rounds – the Brit was defeated by a surprise uppercut from Povetkin in the first fight after dominating
Not strictly the case, it seems. Whyte had staggered Povetkin with his right hand within 45 seconds and two more times in the next minute in a stream of wild swings.
By the second time, Povetkin’s left eye swelled, though he also landed his first meaningful retaliation with a big right behind Whyte’s ear, prompting the Brit to take a more balanced approach with his jab. His patient control in the third of a quickly exhausting opponent became decisive.
In the fourth round and this time there was no escape for Povetkin. He quickly swallowed a big right and was wobbly and after another shock the final and final series was started. It started with a straight right that forced Povetkin against the ropes, and a right hook with a loop sent him staggering and dazed across the ring. Just as the old man looked up, he collided with the large left side that dropped him on his back.
He was clearly gone and so it was dismissed. For a man who speaks a very convincing play in nausea, Whyte helped him up on his stool.
On the undercard, Campbell Hatton was predictably a bit raw and wild as he started his professional career with a points win over Jesus Ruiz.
Ricky Hatton’s son faced an opponent without any fame beyond his ability to take a beating on the feet, and had some success with links to the body and also bled the Spaniard’s nose in the second session of the four-rounder.
Ruiz, who had lost all 10 of his previous fights but went the distance in nine, got close to the drop in the fourth, but survived to prevent Hatton from recording a debut stoppage.
Hatton said, “I can do much better than that. The nerves hit me a little bit so I’ll do better next time. ‘
Whyte continued his opponent’s attack, which led to an explosive fight in the fourth round
Povetkin’s race was run after he was knocked out by Whyte with a fierce left swipe
Sportsmails SAM BLITZ was on the live blog for coverage of Alexander Povetkin vs Dillian Whyte.