Dillian Whyte flattened Alexander Povetkin with a huge left hook after an inspired performance to gain redemption in their high-stakes rematch at the Europa Point Sports Complex in Gibraltar, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in all other markets excluding the UK and Ireland.
Whyte had Povetkin on the brink of a knockout throughout their second heavyweight battle and closed the show dramatically, returning the favor after he lost to the Russian last year.
A fight that balanced destruction and discipline from Whyte have propelled him back near the front of the contenders’ queue in the division where Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are set to decide the undisputed champion.
“I’m happier for my team than I am for me because some of my staff missed Christmas with their families,” Whyte told Matchroom. “They stayed back to help me train. They did so much behind the scenes to get me into the position for a World Title fight.
“I was so close, and then one lapse in concentration and I made a mistake. Tonight, I was like ‘yo’, I’m looking to beat some a** tonight.
I was trying to get it done in the first round, but then I had to relax. Anybody on the planet that gets hit with that left hook they’re going down. Some of them might get up, but most will stay down. He was kind of badly hurt. Now I feel bad. I want him to go home to his family healthy.
“Everyone says a lot of things about me like I’m not this and I’m not that. These guys don’t know me. These guys don’t know what I’m capable of and what I can do. When I read the comments about me, I laugh. I laugh at these guys because I’m as strong as steel.
“One loss, two-loss so what. It was a good learning fight for me because I had to think in there. I was rushing him, but I had to think also. He’s still very heavy-handed, and he’s still outstanding. I’m going to spend some time with my family and relax. I’ll probably call Eddie tomorrow and ask him what we’re doing next. I want to make the most of it now and retire good and healthy.”
10 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest
FABIO WARDLEY WKO5 (0:52) v ERIC MOLINA
(Ipswich, England) (USA)
Fast-rising Ipswich Heavyweight talent Fabio Wardley notched his career’s most impressive win by stopping two-time World Title challenger Eric Molina in five rounds.
The unbeaten 26-year-old took a sizeable step up in class against Molina but produced a destructive response to stop the Texan explosively.
A big right hand shook Wardley, prompting vicious counter punches that sent Molina crashing to the canvas as Wardley progressed to 11-0 (10 KOs).
“My corner wasn’t too happy because sometimes I get a little bit, not lose my head, but I get a little bit bored of playing the long game and waiting for it through in the tactics side,” Wardley told Sky Sports. “My heart won over a bit, and I got stuck into a little bit of a war.
“I’m by no means the finished article. I’ve still got a lot to learn, and that’s why we need fights like that because in other fights I’ve had where I’ve hit people, I’ve stuck it on them, and they’ve gone missing. Molina didn’t go missing until we really had to dig it out.
“There were a few lessons there for us to watch back and for us to tick off. We’ll go back to the drawing board and figure them out. I needed this type of fight at this stage of my career. You can do it as much as you want in sparring and all of those things, but it’s different when you get here under the bright lights.
“You need to test yourself in different ways, and that’s what tonight was all about. I don’t go hunting for names; that’s not my style. I don’t go calling people out. I’m going for Titles, belts, and accolades. That’s where we’re going next. We’re still trying to build and get those good levels of opponents. At the same time, I’m now looking for that next step up. European, Commonwealth or British, something like that.”
12 x 3 mins vacant British Super-Welterweight Title
TED CHEESEMAN WKO11 (2:10) v JAMES METCALF
(Bermondsey, England) (Liverpool, England)
Ted Cheeseman recaptured the British Super-Welterweight Title with a brilliant eleventh round knockout of the previously unbeaten James Metcalf.
The Londoner floored Metcalf with a big left hand in the closing seconds of the 11th round, and the Liverpudlian was counted out in a thrilling finish to their domestic battle.
Metcalf had nearly been halted in the fourth round but stalled Cheeseman’s charge with a stubborn response before an explosive ending.
“Again and again, I’m in exciting fights,” said Cheeseman. “I’m always in entertaining fights. I’m improving and maturing. I’m working hard in the gym. Everyone doubted me and thought that I had a lot of miles on the clock. I’m still fresh as a daisy, and again I’ve cemented myself as the number one domestic Super-Welterweight.
“I felt I won the first five or six rounds. I nearly had him out of there in the fourth. I thought to myself, ‘I’m not going to waste too much energy. I used my experience and had a couple of rounds off. I don’t think he’d ever done the 12 rounds. Then it was time for me to step it up, bully him, and push him back.
“It’s great to be in these fights because they’re entertaining. I’m looking forward to the future now. For a long, while I was down, and everyone thought I was out. Now I’m flying again. The bookies had me as an underdog, and many people thought that I was going to get beat. I outboxed him, I outfought him, and I knocked him out. I showed how good I am, and I showed how much I’ve improved.”
4 x 3 mins International Lightweight contest
CAMPBELL HATTON WPTS4 (40-36) v JESUS RUIZ
(Manchester, England) (Spain)
Campbell Hatton made a blistering start to his professional career as he defeated Jesus Ruiz on points after a relentless four-round assault.
The 20-year-old Lightweight, son of former World Champion Ricky, hurt Ruiz with body punches throughout but had to settle for a shutout 40-36 win on Gibraltar’s scorecards.
“At first, I was a little bit disappointed in myself,” said Hatton. “I spoke to Matt, and he’s always dead honest with me. A bit brutal at times. He said I could have done better, but I definitely didn’t box badly. He said I boxed really well in patches, and I should be pleased with it.
“There was a lot of pressure. I did the one thing I said all week that I didn’t want to do; I let the occasion get to me a bit. Now that occasion is out of the way; it can only get better. I’m pleased, and I’m buzzing. It’s a dream come true. There’s no feeling like it. You always hear people say it on the telly. I didn’t realize how true it was.
“When the music started coming on, I think everyone could see how fired up I was. That’s probably what made me put the performance in that I did. I smothered myself a little bit, but I feel on top of the world. Eddie said there that I’d be out next on the Chisora undercard. I’ll have a couple of shandies tonight and then straight back into the gym next week. I think the second fight is going to be ten times better now I’ve got that first taste of things.”
10 x 3 mins WBO Global Welterweight Title
CHRIS KONGO v MICHAEL MCKINSON WUD10 (97-93, 96-94, 95-94)
(Bermondsey, England) (Portsmouth, England)
Michael McKinson claimed a breakout victory over Chris Kongo as he floored his British Welterweight rival to seal a unanimous decision and move to 20-0.
The Portsmouth southpaw stunned Bermondsey’s Kongo with an aggressive start and edged a closely-contested encounter to secure the WBO Global Title with scores of 97-93, 96-94, 95-94.
“I feel on top of the word,” said McKinson. “I’ve done things the hard way in my career. I’ve been calling for my shot on the big stage for many years, and I never thought it would happen. I’ve been beating people for hardly anything to work my record up to 20-0.
“Fair play to Chris, Dillian, and Eddie for giving me the opportunity. I didn’t think it was ever going to happen. A big shout out to my management team, MTK Global and Lee Eaton, for securing me this. I believe that my career starts tonight. Many people in the boxing world didn’t have me down as the favorite. All of my mates have made money tonight! I’m happy. I’m bringing this belt back to Portsmouth.
“In the week, we’ve had a lot of hype around this fight. Everyone has been talking about it. I know he’s a respectful lad deep down, and so am I. But it did get a bit heated, and everyone was questioning if it would live up to the hype. I think it was a bit boring, but I did what I had to do to win. Great champions do what they have to do to win, and I did that tonight.
“I hope Eddie can give me the opportunities; its winner stays on. I hope I can get on one of these shows again. Like I said in all of my interviews before, Chris is the most dangerous Welterweight out there in the UK, I believe, but he has his weaknesses. I believe in myself. I’ve got a great team around me. I’ve given my life to this sport, and it’s paid off tonight.
“I believe I’m top of the tree. There’s a lot of talks. I’ve got respect for all of the other Welterweights. Josh Kelly, Conor Benn, and Florian Marku. It’s a great time to be a Welterweight domestically at the moment. I deserve the Conor Benn fight more than any other domestic fighter.”
10 x 3 mins vacant IBO International Heavyweight Title
ERIK PFEIFER v NICK WEBB TKO2 (1:51)
(Germany) (Surrey, England)
Nick Webb demolished Erik Pfeifer in two rounds to breathe life back into his career.
The British Heavyweight came storming out in the opening round, troubling Pfeifer with an early barrage and then floored the accomplished German amateur on three occasions to secure victory.
Webb unloaded big right hands from the opening bell as Pfeifer was forced to hold, but he could not withstand the Surrey man’s sustained aggression in the second round.
“I feel on top of the world,” said Webb..“Tonight before we went in, we talked – start fast, get him out of there, and don’t get paid for overtime.
“Everyone doubts me, but I have come here and made a statement. So, please don’t doubt me anymore. I want more belts, more Titles, get me out. I always believed in myself, and my team believed in me too.
“It’s indescribable. I’m so happy. I’ve been through so much pain and hurt. I put everything into that—everything into my training camp. To get a win like that is sending the right message. It’s a big win.
“Pfeifer is a great man; he was a great amateur, and he had some great fights and great wins as an amateur. We knew what was in front of us, and we knew that we didn’t want to get involved with a boxing match. I just wanted to go in and destroy him.
“We said in the changing room to start fast and hit him quick, and that’s exactly what we did. Everyone overlooks me, and everyone doubts me. It’s all about self-belief and mind games. When you’ve got bombs to back the mind games up, it’s all good.”
10 x 3 mins Super-Featherweight contest
YOUSSEF KHOUMARI TKO5 (2:22) v KANE BAKER
(Wembley, England) (Birmingham, England)
Wembley Super-Featherweight Youssef Khoumari opened up the show in explosive fashion as he battered and stopped Kane Baker in five rounds to move to 12-0-1 (5 KOs).
The unbeaten 24-year-old seized the domestic Super-Featherweight division’s attention with a ruthless win over Birmingham’s Baker on his manager Dillian Whyte’s undercard.
Baker ruined the perfect record of Meshech Speare in his last fight, but Khoumari was completely dominant from the opening bell in Gibraltar as he rained down punishing hooks and jabs on the ‘fan with a license.’
“I think the game plan worked really well,” Khoumari told Matchroom afterward. “I came out, and I wanted to stand with him and box in-between. We executed it very well. My coach Xavier Miller and I have been working on this game plan for a long time. The fight was scheduled three weeks ago, but it got pushed back, so we’ve been working on it for a long time.
“I’m happy and proud that our game plan came good on the night. I’m ready to go for whoever’s next. Kane is a tough guy, and I hit him with many good shots early on, and he didn’t move; he kept coming and coming. He’s a callous guy, and he’s tough to get out of there. I’m really pleased to be able to get the stoppage.
“I hope it puts a message out there to all of the Super-Featherweights, Lightweights, anyone in and around my division can get it. I hope they’re all on notice now they know who I am.”