Sunday, August 23, 2020

Povetkin KO’s Whyte In 5


Former Heavyweight world title challenger and longtime contender Alexander Povetkin scored a devastating one punch fifth round knockout over longtime WBC number one Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte on Saturday night at the home of Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn dubbed Matchroom Headquarters in Brentwood, England. After a tactical start to the fight over the first three rounds where both fighters had periods of effectiveness in landing punches to the body and head, the turning point appeared to come in round four when Whyte would score a knockdown of Povetkin with a short left hook to the head early in the round. Povetkin would be knocked down in the latter stages of round four with a short counter left uppercut to the head. Although these were what are known as “Flash Knockdowns” where Povetkin did not appear hurt and was knocked down by punches he did not see, it did appear that the momentum was in Whyte’s favor going into round five.


It would be in round five however, where the fight would come to a sudden and dramatic conclusion. After being dropped twice in the previous round, Povetkin would quickly respond  by rolling under a punch from Whyte and coming up with a perfectly timed left uppercut to the head of his own that landed flush and momentarily knocked Whyte out cold on the canvas prompting an immediate end to the fight with no count from Referee Mark Lyson. Official time of the stoppage was :30 of round five. Alexander Povetkin advances to 36-2-1, with 25 Knockouts. Dillian Whyte falls to 27-2, with 18 Knockouts. 



Also on this card:


In a highly anticipated rematch for the Undisputed Women’s Lightweight world championship, undefeated champion Katie Taylor retained her title with a ten round unanimous decision over former WBC Lightweight world champion Delfine Persoon. Unlike their first encounter which took place in Madison Square Garden in June of last year, that saw the two fighters engage in a toe to toe battle, the story of this fight was largely how Taylor used her lateral movement, combination punching, and well-timed counter punching to out box Persoon. Although there were times particularly over the second half of the bout where Taylor did trade punches with Persoon, she remained disinclined throughout this rematch and her edge in both hand speed and lateral movement, as well as ability to make Persoon miss and Persoon’s inability to nullify Taylor’s movement, is what allowed the champion to box her way to a convincing unanimous decision victory. Official scores were 98-93, and 96-94 (On two scorecards) all in favor of Taylor. Katie Taylor advances to 16-0, with 6 Knockouts. Delfine Persoon falls to 44-3, with 18 Knockouts.



Super-Middleweights Zak Chelli and Jack Cullen fought to a controversial ten round split decision draw. Throughout this contest, Chelli appeared to be the fighter landing more effective punches, by using an awkward style to attack Cullen in spurts. Cullen however, was effective in spots where he was able to use his reach to control distance. At the end of the ten round bout, two official judges were split in their scoring of the fight with the third judge scoring the fight even resulting in a split decision draw. Official scores were 97-93 (Chelli), 96-95 (Cullen), and 95-95 (Even). Zak Chelli advances to 7-1-1, with 3 Knockouts. Jack Cullen advances to 18-2-1, with 9 Knockouts.



Undefeated Welterweight prospect Chris Kongo scored a ninth round stoppage over Luther Clay. What was a competitive fight throughout, Clay generally out worked Kongo, but it was Kongo who had the edge in power. In round five the momentum shifted in Kongo’s favor as a barrage of punches that had Clay staggered against the ropes appeared to have Clay on the verge of being stopped. Clay was able to recover and did manage to regain his position as being the busier of the two fighters. In round nine however, another barrage from Kongo highlighted by a left hook to the head sent Clay down to the canvas and the fight was stopped. Official time of the stoppage was 2:44 of round nine. Chris Kongo advances to 12-0, with 7 Knockouts. Luther Clay falls to 13-2, with 5 Knockouts.



Undefeated Heavyweight Alen Babic scored the fourth victory of his career by scoring a second round knockout over Shawndell Winters.From the opening bell, Babic was relentless in pressuring Winters and brought the fight to him. A flush left hook from Babic sent Winters into the ropes in the first round, which was ruled a knockdown as Winters was preventing from going down to the canvas by the ropes. The all out assault of wild swinging hooks from Babic sent Winters down fully to the canvas in the second round and the bout was justifiably stopped. Official time of the stoppage was 2:20 of round two. Alen Babic advances to 4-0, with 4 Knockouts. Shawndell Winters falls to 13-4, with 12 Knockouts.


This card, which was for the moment the finale of a series of cards that have taken place over the month of August from Matchroom Headquarters dubbed “Fight Camp” brought a dramatic end to what has been an extremely competitive series of cards. While Matchroom Boxing have truly made the best of a situation forced upon all due to the ongoing COVID-19 global epidemic, it remains unclear whether or not the “Fight Camp” concept will continue and the answer to that question will likely be determined by the circumstances of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.


In terms of the conclusion of the main event of this card, it was another in a long list of examples of what this observer has said frequently over the many years I have covered the sport. “Anything Can Happen At Any Given Time In The Sport Of Boxing, And That Is What Makes The Sport So Great.” To follow the all too familiar line from yours truly, one should always expect the unexpected.


As for what will come out of this fight, Alexander Povetkin now finds himself in the mandatory challenger position to face the winner of the upcoming third encounter between undefeated two-time Heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury, current holder of the WBC Heavyweight world championship and former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder. With that fight currently waiting to be scheduled amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the more likely scenario at least for the short-term is for Povetkin to face Whyte again in a contractually mandated rematch, which promoter Eddie Hearn indicated following the fight would be invoked and for the winner of that fight to face the winner of Fury-Wilder III. As is the case with what goes on inside the Boxing ring however, truly anything can happen and it will be as much to do with the circumstances of COVID-19 as it will the business end of the sport to figure out what will happen next.


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”


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