By: Hans Themistode
With one fatal left uppercut, all of the hard work that heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte had put forth went right down the drain.
Following 16 straight wins to start his career, Whyte suffered a major setback at the hands of fellow British rival and current unified champion Anthony Joshua via seventh-round stoppage. Despite the loss, Whyte had spent five full years rebuilding himself. By all accounts, he had done just that as he reeled off 11 straight wins.
Just when the former WBC interim titlist reached the top of the ladder and came within striking distance of his first world title crack, Russian contender Alexander Povetkin pushed him back to the bottom of the barrel. When the two met earlier this year in late August, Whyte was in clear control. In the fourth, Povetkin seemed to be on his way to an early night in the emergency room as he was dropped twice during the round.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Povetkin ducked low, cocked back and fired a left uppercut that left Whyte unconscious. Following the loss, Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs) immediately enacted his rematch clause. However, due to COVID-19, Povetkin has been forced to delay their second meeting.
While Whyte could continue to bide his time on the sidelines until his man fully recovers, he’d much rather face another big-name opponent in the meanwhile.
“They keep saying that he’s sick so they keep delaying it,” said Whyte on Toe 2 Toe podcast. “Okay that’s fine, I want you to be at your best when I fight you so I’ll tell you what. Have as much time as you want. Let me fight Luis Ortiz in February then I’ll fight Povetkin later in the year.”
For the 41-year-old Ortiz, a fight against Whyte could be exactly what the doctor ordered. Following two failed title contests against then belt holder Deontay Wilder, Ortiz (32-2, 27 KOs) has picked up several wins. Most recently, the Cuban native annihilated Alexander Flores in the first round roughly one month ago. A matchup between both Whyte and Ortiz would pit a pair of contenders that are ranked safely within the top six of the WBC sanctioning body.
With no exact date in mind in terms of when Povetkin will be fully fit to return to the ring, Whyte views a contest with Ortiz as not only a matchup that would allow him to stay active, but also one that he has been chasing for quite some time.
“I tried to fight Luis Ortiz three or four times. I’ll fight Ortiz in February and Povetkin in April or May. I want Povetkin to recover and be good. It’s a serious situation and he’s older. They say his lungs have problems because of Covid so let me and Ortiz fight and I’ll fight Povetkin after.”