HOLLYWOOD, Fla.—There is only one option enticing enough to convince Dillian Whyte to bypass his planned rematch with Alexander Povetkin.
None of the heavyweights making themselves available are along those lines, nor captivating enough to charge the price of admission that comes with a Sky Sports Box Office purchase.
Plans for Whyte and Povetkin to meet again later this month were derailed after Povetkin tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. The bout was due to take place November 21 atop a Sky Sports Box Office telecast, with the date holding up but moving on without Whyte and now airing live on Sky Sports.
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, middleweights Conor Benn and Sebastian Formella will now man the new main event.
A tentative date of January 30, 2021 has been set aside for part two between Whyte (27-2, 18KOs) and Povetkin (36-2-1, 25KOs). Their first fight this past August saw Povetkin survive two 4th round knockdowns to flatten Whyte seconds into the 5th round in perhaps the leading contender for 2020 Knockout of the Year.
The loss snapped an 11-fight win streak for Whyte, who was due to challenge for the heavyweight title currently held by Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) had he won that fight.
Such a fight remains the only way he won’t wind up heading straight into a revenge-fueled rematch with Povetkin.
“The situation is, the fight he wants more than anything is Alexander Povetkin, because Alexander Povetkin beat him,” Eddie Hearn, managing director of Matchroom Boxing confirmed during a media roundtable event to otherwise discuss Saturday’s DAZN show at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. “I think that obviously he has to rectify that defeat or try to rectify that defeat. There is one fight, I believe, that he would take—and that’s Tyson Fury on December 5. Honestly, I don’t expect that to happen.
“At the end of the day, Dillian Whyte would fight Tyson Fury on December 5 if that fight came on.”
Absent that fight, Matchroom Boxing plans to move full steam ahead with its current schedule in place in the United Kingdom. Sky Sports dates are currently on tap for November 14 (Katie Taylor-headlined tripleheader), November 21 (Benn-Formella) and December 4 (Billy Joe Saunders vs. Martin Murray), along with a December 12 Sky Sports Box Office event topped by unified heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21KOs) versus Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14KOs).
What is absolutely certain is that November 21 is no longer a Pay-Per-View event in the UK, despite the likes of longtime rival Derek Chisora (32-10, 23KOs) and Las Vegas’ Michael Hunter (18-1-1, 12KOs) offering their services to save the show.
Chisora dropped two fights with Whyte, suffering a 12-round decision defeat in December 2016 and then a violent 11th round knockout in their thrilling December 2018 rematch. The 36-year old former title challenger is coming off of a 12-round unanimous decision defeat to Oleksandr Usyk on October 31 but was willing to jump back in the ring just three weeks later.
Hunter has not fought since a spirited 12-round draw with Povetkin last December in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. The American contender went as far as to volunteer himself—through social media—free of charge as an opponent for Whtye, just for the sake of landing the fight.
Both offers are appreciated; neither are enough to save the show nor convince the platform that viewers would be willing to pay for either scenario.
“Realistically, we will postpone that fight to January 30,” Hearn confirmed of Povetkin-Whyte II. “Any fighter who’s trained for eight weeks and loses his fight will say “I just want to fight.” Yesterday, that was very much the opinion—Dillian Whyte just wanted to fight, he wanted to make the PPV slot work.
“Chisora… Michael Hunter even threw his name in to the hat, for free apparently. That’s not a PPV fight, though, not with the clutter coming up. So, I said to Dillian, unless we get asked to fight Tyson Fury, which he would do in a heartbeat, then we just got to wait for January 30. That’s the fight we got to do and we will announce that in the next 24 hours.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox