Anthony Joshua’s arch rival, Dillian Whyte who hoped of a world heavyweight title opportunity suffered a major setback when former Olympic champion Alexander Povetkin got off the canvas twice to land a crushing blow that knocked out the British boxer.
Whyte, 32, had been the WBC’s number-one contender for over two years and was hoping victory behind closed doors on Saturday would pave the way for a world title shot at either defending champion Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder.
Whyte twice put 40-year-old Russian Povetkin down in the fourth round but was then knocked out in the fifth by the former WBA world champion.
“I didn’t feel I would finish the fight like this. I was confident in the fourth round even after going down twice,” Povetkin told Sky Sports after winning the bout courtesy of a life-sapping left hook.
Promoter Eddie Hearn added: “When the punch landed, I thought it was a dream. I can’t believe it.
“Two heavy knockdowns from Whyte – people felt it was over. This is the drama of heavyweight boxing. One punch completely changed the fight.
“It is a shock. He wasn’t that much of an outsider – we knew how good Povetkin was. It was a thrilling knockout on a thrilling night.”