Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte is not convinced that Alexander Povetkin actually contracted COVID-19.

Back in August, Povetkin knocked Whyte out cold in the fifth round at Matchroom's Fight Camp in Brentwood.

Whyte exercised an immediate rematch clause, with a second fight being booked for November 21.

But last week, the unexpected news broke that Povetkin was pulled from the fight after being hospitalized in Moscow with a positive diagnosis for COVID-19.

Whyte, however, is not buying the information from Povetkin and his team.

He believes Povetkin required additional time to prepare for their rematch - which is being targeted for late January, although that scenario is not set in stone.

"I personally don't think he's got COVID. I think he just needed more time to get ready, because he took a lot of damage in the first fight. After the first fight, he took a lot of time off. Even though I got stopped, I went straight back to training and I got straight back on it," Whyte told Sky Sports.

"I was just in my peak stage now, so I can't just crash out and let it all die down. I've got to keep the engine warm and still train, but just not as hard. I keep the same intensity, but just not the volume. They wanted more time, or whatever. More time for me. More time for me to learn and bond with my team and to keep improving. We worked on a lot of stuff in the last camp that's only falling into place for this camp, so it's all good."

Povetkin's promoter, Andrey Ryabinskiy, rejects Whyte's claim and makes it clear that his boxer has no problem presenting medical records to prove his illness.

"There are so many different opinions. Let's not listen to opinions, but be guided by facts and make decisions. The facts are simple - Alexander got coronavirus, and we were forced to postpone the fight. This can happen to any athlete. Alexander was in the hospital, we have all the documents at hand. If Eddie Hearn has any question of this kind, I am ready to submit all these documents," Ryabinskiy told Sky Sports.

"He had a rather difficult form of coronavirus, but he passed this crisis period, the doctors put him back on his feet. Alexander is now feeling well; no complications have been identified. At the moment, his main task is to restore health and return to the necessary physical shape. We hope Alexander will return to training in two to three weeks. But any physical activity should be coordinated with doctors, while they are careful in their forecasts and only say that it is necessary to monitor the situation and Alexander's well-being. Obviously, it is more profitable for us to have a rematch with Whyte after his defeat as soon as possible."