Betfair's boxing writer Frankie Monkhouse updates fight fans on plans for a return to action this summer...
"Leading promoter Eddie Hearn responded almost immediately, assuring followers he has something dramatic and spectacular up his sleeve."
There was a glimmer of hope for fight fans during these testing times when the British Board of Control said they were hopeful the sport will resume in July.
Leading promoter Eddie Hearn responded almost immediately, assuring followers he has something dramatic and spectacular up his sleeve. The face of Matchroom Boxing told members of the press it's his intention to bring the wow factor back.
Back in at the deep end
Hearn expects to stage up to three Saturday fight nights this summer before jumping back in at the deep end. The blockbuster fight hinted at is Dillian Whyte v Alexander Povetkin (pictured below right). The hard-hitting heavyweight pair were originally scheduled to meet in Manchester, but that bout was shelved due to the coronavirus outbreak and resulting UK lockdown.
The clash, which has whipped up excitement in the industry, will go ahead but is likely to happen in front of an empty arena. No fans, limited officials and medical staff at ringside and only a few fights on the card, it will surely make for a strange evening, but it's one everyone connected to the noble art desperately wants to see as it will signal the return of boxing to our television screens.
Whyte can't afford another off night
Whyte's professional record stands at 27 wins against one defeat with 18 of those victories coming inside the distance. The spare on his CV was a memorable seventh round defeat to Anthony Joshua back in December 2015. The Body Snatcher pushed AJ hard that night and since that loss has won each of his 11 outings.
The 6ft 4inch 32-year-old from Brixton, London was last seen beating respected Mariusz Wach in Saudi Arabia on the undercard of Anthony Joshua's revenge win over Andy Ruiz Jr. Whyte wasn't at his best that night - added to the show at late notice - but he'll be well aware he can't afford a slip-up against Povetkin.
If Dillian beats the high-ranking Russian he will move closer to the likes of Joshua, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. There's also a chance we'll see Joshua v Fury in 2020 due to the travel ban and, if that happens, Tyson would be a 4/9 favourite on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Povetkin still a real danger
Povetkin will duck between the ropes on fight night as an outsider in the betting and with many expecting him to suffer a convincing defeat, but Russian Vityaz's record shows it would be foolish to write him off. The experienced 40-year-old fighting out of Chekhov brings a record detailing 35 wins, two defeats and one draw. Since debuting in 2005, the Olympic gold medallist has lost only to Wladimir Klitschko on points and Anthony Joshua, beaten in seven at Wembley two years ago.
The away fighter may be fast approaching the end of his career, but he carries knockout power in both hands, as is proven by his frightening 63% KO average. Have we seen the best of Povetkin? Perhaps. Is he past his best? Possibly, but you better believe he is still an extremely dangerous individual and Team Whyte will afford him maximum respect. If they don't, we could see the Englishman's title chances shattered.