A stunning defeat for Dillian Whyte at the hands of Alexander Povetkin appears to have smoothed the path towards a Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua unification showdown in 2021.
Whyte had been the WBC’s mandatory contender heading into the Matchroom Fight Camp clash with the 40-year-old Povetkin. And he knew that a victory would guarantee him an immediate title shot against the winner of Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3.
It would also likely have delayed any Fury vs Joshua match, or potentially destroyed any chance of it being for the undisputed championship had Fury decided to vacate.
Instead now the road to Fury vs Joshua appears clearer tonight in the immediate aftermath of Povetkin’s stunning fifth-round stoppage victory in Brentwood, Essex.
That beautiful uppercut that finished Whyte won’t give Povetkin the immediate title shot that Whyte would have received if victorious. Instead the pair are likely to rematch before the end of the year according to Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
And while remaining respectful in the immediate aftermath of a shocking stoppage for his man, Hearn did admit while speaking to Sky Sports Box Office that in theory it does leave Fury and his other heavyweight star Joshua free to meet sooner rather than later.
Both of course do still have business to take care of first – Fury in that trilogy fight with Wilder and Joshua against IBF mandatory contender Kubrat Pulev from Bulgaria.
It is hoped both of those fights can take place in December, and if both men prevail then that dream date of Fury vs Joshua taking place next summer appears very much alive.
The pair announced on June 10 that they already have agreed in principle the financial structure of a two-fight deal and Hearn himself has voiced the hope that they will meet twice in 2021 – the first time in summer with the rematch later in the year.
And while it is a devastating night for Whyte as his dreams lie in tatters, many British fight fans will be looking at a huge silver lining with the fight they all went to see apparently much much closer.