Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number:
Povetkin Draws Deep To Stun Whyte
By Iberedem Ekure
The August 23rd Matchroom boxing main event between
Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte was a weird watch. It
wasn’t just the absence of a crowd, I watched Shawn Porter
on Premier Boxing Champions later in the evening and it
didn’t feel so out of place without the throng of
spectators, the setting just had something about it that was
unusual. Perhaps it was a precursor for the night of upsets
we were going to witness; other bouts on the card were
Luther Clay defending the WBO global welterweight title
against Chris Kongo and Katie Taylor defended all her belts
against Delfine Persoon in a thrilling performance. I will
get to these but first, Whyte vs. Povetkin: All the chatter
was about Whyte’s devastating left hand, Povetkin slowing
down and how this was his swan song.
The fight began with both men feeling each other out;
Povetkin as expected, looking like the more skilled fighter
with good movement and pressing the action. Whyte was
content with sitting behind the jab and look for the right
opening or just waiting for ‘old man’ Povetkin to tire
In the second round, Whyte landed a couple of good left
hooks to the body as Povetkin came in to press the action.
Povetkin feeling the power, made some adjustments and landed
a few left hands from safe distance. The pace of the fight
was still very tentative with Whyte sitting behind the jab
and Povetkin stepping in, throwing two to three punches, and
Round three saw Whyte land a hard, left hand that stunned
Povetkin but he was in no hurry to end things, allowing
Povetkin the space and time to regroup and resume the
coordinated in and out offense. Whyte ended the round with
four landed body shots to remind Povetkin of his power.
In the fourth, Whyte landed two right crosses and a short,
left hook that put Povetkin on the mat on one knee. Povetkin
beat the count and Whyte again was in no hurry to close
things out. Povetkin came back and landed some jabs and a
left hook followed by a right hook. Whyte was unperturbed;
he knew he was ahead on the scorecard and the longer this
wore on, the odds were in his favor. Whyte landed a double
jab to establish distance but Povetkin continued to be the
aggressor, finding his way inside and unfortunately walked
into a counter uppercut by Whyte which knocked Povetkin down
again. A 10-7 round for Whyte and the fight was looking like
it would be over in short order.
The fifth round started like the others with Povetkin coming
in to press the action. He threw a sharp jab and Whyte threw
a right-hand counter in response but the veteran Povetkin
dipped to the left to slip the punch and landed a thudding
left uppercut that knocked Whyte out. What a finish it was;
Whyte made to pay for not finishing Povetkin off in rounds 3
and 4 and complicating his route to facing one of the “big
three” in the heavyweight division.
A Scary Welterweight: Kongo the 6-footer defeats Clay
Almost a year ago in September, a contingent from the UK
with the will and skill touched down in Florence Italy and
sacked the city; Luther Clay and Sam Eggington won titles
Matchroom Italy and DAZN’s fight night in Italy. August 22nd
was Clay’s chance to defend his WBO Global Welterweight
Title against Chris Kongo. You would be excused if you had
no idea who Chris Kongo was; The undefeated London fighter
had not fought in 16 months and it is not surprising. Kongo
is one of the most avoided welterweights in the UK. He is a
bad match-up for anyone in the division at 6ft tall. Nobody
with anything to lose would want to gamble on a fight
against him so this chance to get some leather around his
waist and attract the big matchups was a lot of motivation.
Kongo opened the fight as the aggressor looking to impose
his will on the champion Clay while Clay looked to work the
body early and weaken the taller Kongo. Kongo used his jab
to good effect and Clay landed a right hand to the body at
the end of the round. As the bell rang, Clay seemed to taunt
Kongo with shouts of “wake up”.
In the second, Kongo sought to keep the champion Clay at bay
with the jab, but Clay found ways to get inside and throw
body shots. The fight was being fought on the inside where
Clay had the upper hand. With Kongo’s height he did not need
to be getting dragged into a brawl.
The third and fourth rounds were better from Kongo. He did a
good job maintaining the distance with his jab although he
continued to eat counter punches from Clay to the body.
Kongo’s timing improved allowing him to stay on the outside
and come in periodically with sharp combinations. At the end
of the fourth, Kongo’s trainer, the formidable Jim McDonnell
told his fighter not to go looking for Clay.
Kongo took his trainer’s advice in the fifth and fought on
the back foot. He caught Clay with an overhand right that
wobbled the Champion and followed it up with a left hook.
Kongo then had Clay against the ropes and landed a flurry of
hooks, but Clay weathered the storm and tied Kongo up. Clay
then landed a big right hook and a few body shots. The round
ended with Kongo back to fighting on the back foot.
Rounds six to eight saw Kongo use his reach well and
maintain distance with the jab. Clay continued to play the
chasing game having mixed success. Clay seemed to get
frustrated in the sixth and landed a couple of punches with
Kongo’s back turned. Clay was not able to throw enough
combinations in the instances he was able to get on the
In the ninth round, Clay started out looking to be the
aggressor, but Kongo caught Clay on the counter and followed
up with combinations of hooks and uppercuts against the
ropes. Clay again weathered the storm and with less than
thirty seconds to go in the round, Clay walked into a left
hook as he stalked Kongo and that put Clay on the mat.
Clay’s corner threw in the towel and the referee ended the
fight. Chris Kongo became the new WBO global welterweight
champion. I look forward to seeing more of the young man.