Dillian Whyte saw his hopes of challenging for a world-title evaporate as Alexander Povetkin survived two knockdowns to land a devastating knockout punch that reverberated through the boxing world.
The bout – staged without fans absence in the garden of Matchroom Boxing’s headquarters – typified the drama of heavyweight boxing as Whyte had been in total control, dominating the Russian in the first three rounds and scoring two knockdowns in the fourth.
But despite being outclassed and on the backfoot, 40-year-old Povetkin still managed to conjure a devastating left uppercut in the fifth that not only fell Whyte but torpedoed his ambition of challenging for the WBC world heavyweight title.
Whyte needed treatment and left without speaking to the press but promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed that a rematch will happen.
“It’s one of those things, it just landed. I was bossing it. It is what it is. A rematch, let’s go,” Whyte, 32, said after his loss.
“I can’t quite believe it,” said Hearn.
“When the punch landed I felt like I was in some dream. The fight was over virtually. Dillian was measuring Povetkin up, then two heavy knockdowns.
“I and others thought it was over. This is the drama of heavyweight boxing, one punch can change everything.
“He has to do a job in a rematch.”
It was an unexpected end to a fight many predicted would further bolster Whyte’s reputation with Povetkin who had served two drug bans widely written off as past it by many commentators.
In the end, Povetkin had too much for Whyte and the Russian has still only lost to Wladimir Klitschko and IBF, WBO and WBA world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in a 39-fight and 15-year-long career.
British heavyweight Whyte who also served a drugs ban in 2012 and whose only defeat prior to this was to Joshua in 2015 must now go to work once again if he is to rediscover hope of a first world-title shot.