Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin, which was originally scheduled to take place this past Saturday, could be the first fight behind closed doors post-lockdown – according to promoter Eddie Hearn. It has been provisionally moved to July 4.
Eddie Hearn has confirmed Whyte-Povetkin will go ahead behind closed doors once the UK’s lockdown restrictions are ultimately relaxed and may be part of the first boxing fight card staged in the country since the sport’s suspension in March.
The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) are hopeful the sport can resume in July but without fans in attendance. A maximum of five fights per event would be permitted, along with a pre-tournament medical form, COVID-19 testing and quarantine.
During an appearance on Sky Sports’ The Boxing Show, Hearn revealed an eagerness to prove critics wrong – that although difficult, big fights can happen behind closed doors.
He was quoted as saying: “A lot of people think it is difficult for bigger fights to happen behind closed doors. Whyte vs Povetkin is one of the fights we are planning to stage in the early part of the return, it will take place behind closed doors.
“I don’t know how we’re going to do it yet, but we have to come back with a bang. Whyte-Povetkin, along with Taylor-Serrano, is a fight that I believe we will see at the end of July or early August.”
Taylor-Serrano also on the cards
Katie Taylor (15-0) has an undisputed lightweight title fight against Amanda Serrano (38-1-1), which was originally scheduled to be on the same card. That too may feature alongside the aforementioned bout without a live audience in attendance.
Taylor will take on the seven-weight world champion Serrano in an intriguing battle with plenty at stake. Hearn praised the Ireland international, while showing his determination to make the fight happen sooner rather than later.
“It’s the biggest fight in women’s boxing. Looking at the achievements of Taylor and the growth of women’s boxing?
It’s incredible, she is pound-for-pound one of the biggest superstars in the sport. I will try to make it happen on the Whyte-Povetkin card somehow, somewhere, some way.”
Whyte taking risks with Povetkin up next
The Body Snatcher (27-1) risks his status as WBC interim heavyweight champion and mandatory challenger to Tyson Fury’s new belt to take on #5 ranked Povetkin (35-2-1).
The 40-year-old Russian fought to a split decision draw against Michael Hunter on the Joshua-Ruiz 2 undercard in December, while Whyte beat Mariusz Wach that same night.
Whyte, currently training in lockdown in Portugal, hopes to enforce a mandatory shot at Fury’s WBC title – ahead of any Joshua/Fury unification bout, continuing to intensify.
He was quoted as saying: “Why wouldn’t he want to fight me instead of waiting for an injured Wilder to recover?”
Last week, the WBC claimed he has only been the mandatory challenger since beating Oscar Rivas last summer – despite being their number one contender since Nov. 2017.
Since that date, he’s won five successive matches – including against Joseph Parker to win the WBO heavyweight strap and an entertaining rematch against Dereck Chisora five months later to end 2018 with aplomb.
Wilder, who was then champion, also had five title defences between November 2017 and his defeat by Fury on February 22. Knockout victories over Bermane Stiverne, Luis Ortiz (twice) and Dominic Breazeale were sandwiched between his split decision draw against Fury during their first fight back in Dec. 2018. Whyte’s naturallly not happy:
“It’s embarrassing for the WBC to say that. Why hasn’t the WBC champion fought me yet and to say I’ve only been mandatory for over 280 days, but by the time my shot comes around in February 2021, I will have been the No. 1 ranked contender for over 1,200 days. That will be the longest wait in boxing history – it’s frustrating and disgraceful!”