What’s next for Dillian Whyte after victory over Alexander Povetkin?
By Ziyad Jamal
After defeating Alexander Povetkin in a rematch to avenge his first loss to the Russian, heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte will be looking to navigate through his next hurdle to get closer to what would be a well-deserved world title shot.
Held in Gibraltar and billed as The Rumble on the Rock, Whyte stormed through Povetkin to record a brilliant 4th round TKO victory and take his overall professional record to 28-2.
After losing to long-time rival and current heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in 2015, Whyte had managed to rebuild his career with 11 consecutive wins. These included triumphs over Derek Chisora twice, former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker as well as Oscar Rivas. Whyte’s run of impressive wins came to an end when he tasted defeat for just the second time in his career when Povetkin stopped him with a devastating 5th round uppercut in their first bout last August. After putting that loss right, now is the time for Whyte to plot his next bout to get him up the ladder in a position to challenge for a heavyweight title belt.
However, with the entire sporting world demanding to finally see Joshua take on fellow heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, and a two-fight deal looking more likely than ever to occur, Whyte may have to sit back and accept some less prestigious but still lucrative fights.
Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn has enlisted former and recent heavyweight champions Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr as desirable opponents for Whyte’s next contest. Those two likely present the best and most exciting opportunities for Whyte as they are in a similar position to him of wanting to become heavyweight world title holders. Beating either of the two could present Whyte to the front of the queue in fighting the winner of the Joshua and Fury bouts.
Ruiz Jr will be looking to bounce back from his rematch defeat to Joshua when he returns to the ring to face Chris Arreola on May 1st. Providing he comes through that bout unscathed; he could be a realistic option for Whyte. Ruiz Jr still has plenty to offer to the heavyweight division and his win over Joshua two years ago was not a fluke so he would present a serious test to Whyte. Also, the bout could take place in Ruiz Jr’s home of America and that could present a nice challenge for Whyte. This is as he has only fought stateside once, with it being an uncompetitive eight-round scheduled fight with Malcolm Tann that resulted in a 3rd round TKO in 2017. Furthermore, with Joshua beating Ruiz Jr on points in their rematch, Whyte may view this as an opportunity to better Joshua’s victory over Ruiz Jr by looking to win by knockout.
Wilder still has not fought since his devastating rematch loss to Fury last February and rumours of third fight between the pair seem farfetched now with Fury lining up to face Joshua twice. Whyte has been very critical and had some strong words for Wilder over the years so a fight between the two would settle whatever bad blood there is. Wilder has had to recover from a bicep injury and has split from his last trainer Mark Breland after disagreeing with his decision to throw in the towel in the rematch with Fury. Even with no world title on the line, this would be a spectacular fight and one that could help Whyte cement himself as the best heavyweight after Fury and Joshua.
One could argue that Povetkin deserves another fight with Whyte with the score now at 1-1 between them, but that looks unlikely with Hearn unwilling to set up a trilogy. However, Whyte was open to a third bout after his rematch victory and may push through with that if agreements cannot be made to fight Wilder or Ruiz Jr next.