It has been a long time coming but on Saturday night Whyte and Povetkin finally go head-to-head. Ex-professional fighter and current Betfair pundit Frankie Monkhouse looks ahead...
"We could see the warriors dragged into a shoot-out, happy to trade and let the best man win."
The one we've been longing for
It's the fight we've all been waiting for and the reason Eddie Hearn transformed the Matchroom Sports grounds into a live boxing venue. Fight Camp brings us Dillian Whyte v Alexander Povetkin for the interim WBC heavyweight world title and vacant WBC Diamond belt.
The big-hitting and ambitious Londoner against the rugged and experienced Russian. It's a bout that had to be rescheduled due to the coronavirus emergency and resulting UK lockdown but as the old saying goes, good things come to those who wait. There hasn't been any fighter quite as patient as Whyte, but he can help move his career forward with a convincing win on Saturday.
The main attraction is backed up by an exciting undercard and the Betfair Sportsbook allows backers to ramp up their interest with a bet on the outcome of their favourite fights. Will Whyte claim career win number 28 or will Povetkin enhance his already impressive 63% knockout average?
Whyte has waited long enough
Whyte has been the number one contender for a shot at the WBC heavyweight title for three years and counting but the Bodysnatcher seems no closer to getting his dream match-up against Tyson Fury. The Gypsy King looks set to complete the trilogy against American Deontay Wilder and that could leave Whyte out in the cold until, at least, summer 2021. It has been a frustrating time for the 32-year-old from Brixton but he must remain focussed ahead of a blockbuster fight against a dangerous opponent in Povetkin.
Defeat on Saturday night in Essex would send Dillian back down the pecking order and the competitive nature of the top division at present means he may never get the chance to become champion of the world. The pressure is on Whyte to not only beat Povetkin but do it in a fashion that sends out a message to boxing fans across the world and ensures bosses know it would be criminal to ignore him any longer. This is another all-or-nothing fight for the Brit.
He brings a professional record reading 27 wins and one defeat with the spare on his card coming courtesy of a seventh round TKO against Anthony Joshua back in 2015 with British and Commonwealth titles on the line. That's a loss Dillian is keen to avenge and he'd love the chance to do it with AJ's clutch of championship belts on the line. To have any chance of achieving that he must find a way past Povetkin but he's favourite on the Betfair Sportsbook with victory trading at 2/7. An 18th KO/TKO win is 7/5 in the method of victory market.
Povetkin has seen it all
All the talk amongst British fight fans and the UK media in the build up to Saturday's contest has focussed on Whyte's strengths and what he must do to close the gap between himself and Joshua or Fury but the man in the opposite corner is no mere opponent. Standing 6ft 2inches tall and carrying a 35-2-1 record which stretches back to 2005, Povetkin has seen it all during his time. He may be 40 years old now and in the autumn of his career but he remains in the top five of the world rankings and is there on merit.
Fighting out of Chekhov, Russian Vityaz has lost only two fights to date with those defeats coming against Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 and Joshua at Wembley in 2018. The fact AJ is the only man to stop him shows just how tough Povetkin is but also proves the frightening power possessed by the current WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO world champion. Since losing in London, Povetkin has beaten Hughie Fury on points before fighting out a split decision draw with American Michael Hunter on the undercard of Joshua v Ruiz II late last year.
Povetkin enters the ring with nothing to lose. He has spent his career competing at the top level and has never disgraced himself. He may be eight years older than his opponent but followers of the Russian know he remains strong, fit, agile and intelligent in the ring. Despite his experience and current ranking, users of the Betfair Sportsbook seem happy to take on the away fighter and there's 16/5 available on him causing an upset.
Bodysnatcher to remain patient
Boxing fans will know just how hard Whyte has worked to get himself into the position of number one contender for the WBC title but they will also know how dangerous Povetkin is. The underdog has been written off many times in the past and has shocked the world. If Whyte takes him lightly, even for a second, he could be made to pay a heavy price.
The exciting thing about this fight is both men will be dangerous from the opening bell to the last punch and the contest could turn in the blink of an eye. Whyte is known for his thunderous left hook and that's also the signature punch of Povetkin. We could see the warriors dragged into a shoot-out, happy to trade and let the best man win. If that happens the bout won't trouble the scoring judges.
Whyte has every right to be impatient with his situation but he can't afford to take chances against Povetkin. He must box smart, use his jab and only commit to those rolling hooks when the time is right. The fact Alexander is 40 years old may encourage Whyte to drag this one into the latter rounds. He's an eye-catching 5/1 on the Betfair Sportsbook to win in rounds 9-12 and that's bigger than it should be.