Dillian Whyte looks set to move his training camp to Spain for his rematch with Alexander Povetkin after Portugal, where he has been training, was placed on a list of countries from which travel to the UK is banned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Whyte has based himself in Portugal since the start of the pandemic, but the country has been placed by the UK government on a red list of countries with high rates of transmission.

Povetkin claimed the interim WBC heavyweight title with a fourth-round knockout of Whyte in the garden of Matchroom’s Essex headquarters in August. A rematch was due to take place in November at the SSE Arena, Wembley, until Povetkin tested positive for COVID-19 and was briefly hospitalized.

The rematch is now due to be on March 6.

“He’s going to move his camp, probably to Spain,” Eddie Hearn, the promoter, said. “At the moment, the ruling would be he would have to come ten days before the fight. But I expect within the elite athlete exemption he would allowed to effectively isolate in the bubble, away from everyone else in the bubble, but we would create his little isolation area. 

“That hasn’t been approved yet by the government so with that, he has to either come on February 14, the day before that government isolation kicks in, or he has to move his camp. That’s something we’re talking about and I think it’s likely he will move to Spain and isolate there in camp.

“There’s no ruling, I believe, to isolate in Spain from Portugal but he would still have that period to isolate because he’s on his own with his team.”

There had been talks of staging the fight abroad, possibly in a country that would allow a crowd or pay a site fee, or somewhere that would make travel for Whyte and Povetkin easier. But that is unlikely now, with the fight expected to go ahead behind-close-doors at the SSE Arena.

“We were looking at staging the event internationally, but I believe logistically we can follow the regulations and stage it in London, and that’s where we’d rather do it.”  

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for Boxing Scene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.