It appears the top of the heavyweight division may be tied up for the rest of the year with WBC champ Tyson Fury completing the trilogy with Deontay Wilder later this year and WBO, WBA and IBF champ Anthony Joshua defending his titles vs Kubrat Pulev likely in late 2020. The winners of those bouts may look to unify the belts in early 2021 – perhaps Fury vs AJ to crown the first undisputed champ since Lennox Lewis in 2000.
In the meantime, new No. 1 contenders will need to rise and a pivotal bout takes place in Brentwood, England, on August 22 when Dillian “The Body Snatcher” Whyte defends his WBC interim belt against former world title challenger Alexander “Sasha” Povetkin.
Online sportsbook [ol-sportsbook-bp:48:Bovada:26:Bodog] has listed Whyte, the No. 4-ranked heavyweight, as a -350 favorite with the eighth-ranked Povetkin coming back at +265.
Odds as of August 18 at [ol-sportsbook-bp:48:Bovada:26:Bodog]
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The Russian, Povetkin, has been an underdog in two of his last three fights, winning the fight in which he was favored while losing and scoring a draw in the other two. The defeat came against Anthony Joshua via a seventh-round knockout. Sasha was also an underdog when he boxed Wladimir Klitschko in 2013, a unanimous-decision loss.
As for the Brit, Whyte, he’s riding an 11-fight winning streak and has climbed to fourth in the heavyweight rankings, just behind the big three of Fury, Joshua and Wilder. The Body Snatcher has been favored in eight of his last 10 fights. He closed as a dog against Joseph Parker in 2018, a fight he won via unanimous decision, and vs Anthony Joshua in 2015, a fight he lost by seventh-round knockout – his only pro defeat.
How Will Whyte vs Povetkin Play Out?
Povetkin, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, is predominantly a counter-striker, setting traps for his foes and looking to land his heavy hooks when he finds his opportunities. In the pocket, the 40-year-old avoids punches with his great head movement, getting off the centerline so he can fire back with a counter.
At times, Povetkin will drop his hands in close range when he’s really trying to more effectively see – and avoid – his foe’s punches. However, he has slowed in his older age, which has led to him getting hit more and more often and getting wobbled frequently.
The 31-year-old Whyte will have the advantage in height, weight and reach. The latter likely is the most significant as he works extremely well off his back foot, constantly pawing away at his opponent with his stiff jab before letting his heavier right hand go. With his size, he also tends to wear on his opponents in clinch situations when they get on the inside, which opens up opportunities for the knockout in later rounds when his foes are tired.
Povetkin may get the better of Whyte in the early stages of the fight with his speed and head movement in the pocket. However, in those instances when Sasha drops his hands, he puts himself in extreme danger: of the Body Snatcher’s 27 pro wins, 18 have come by knockout, and he only needs a small opening to turn the lights out on his opponent. Povetkin may have a hard time getting on the inside with Whyte stopping him in his tracks with his heavy jab.
Prediction: Dillian Whyte (-350) via decision
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