Dillian Whyte has been told he will have to wait before he can get the chance to regain his number one spot in the heavyweight division.
The former WBC interim heavyweight champion lost his position when he was knocked out by Alexander Povetkin back in August.
Whyte, the former British heavyweight champion who had been mandatory for WBC world champion Tyson Fury going into the first fight with the Russian, was scheduled to meet Povetkin in a rematch on November 21.
But the fight, set to take place at the SSE Arena in Wembley, London, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN, has been forced back after it was revealed that Povetkin, a former Anthony Joshua opponent, has been hospitalised after contracting COVID-19.
“Firstly, we want to wish Alexander Povetkin a speedy recovery,” said promoter Eddie Hearn when confirming the news. “This is a challenging time for shows. There will be lots of ups and downs over the next few months and we look forward to the fight happening in late January.”
Hearn, who himself contracted COVID-19 recently, has stated that January 30 is the target date for the rescheduled rematch.
Conor Benn had been set to see action on November 21, up against Sebastian Formella in a defence of his WBA Continental welterweight title, while Dillian Whyte-managed duo Fabio Wardley, against former regular WBA heavyweight champion Lucas Browne, and Alen Babic –– who both campaign at heavyweight –– were earmarked for returns.
Chris Billam-Smith, the Commonwealth champion in the cruiserweight division, was meant to be going in against Deion Jumah in a clash for the vacant British title after it was recently relinquished by Richard Riakporhe and the aforementioned Babic is set to come up against Tom Little.
Hearn headed straight to social media in the aftermath of the confirmation to state that the November 21 card will still go ahead –– but will only be a pay-per-view show if Whyte fights on the bill. Otherwise, a regular Sky Sports Saturday night Fight Night will take place, “unless Dillian Whyte finds a monstrous opponent or fight.”