COVID put Povetkin in ‘sleep mode’ for Whyte rematch

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Alexander Povetkin’s manager believes a battle with COVID-19 put the Russian star in “sleep mode” for his recent rematch against Dillian Whyte.

The 41-year-old Povetkin (now 36-3-1) looks booked for retirement after suffering a crushing fourth-round stoppage at the hands of ‘The Body Snatcher’.

Their March 27 bout, which eventually took place on the island of Gibraltar, had initially been scheduled for November 2020. That date bit the dust though when ‘Sasha’ was hospitalised with COVID-19.

Povetkin COVID battle

A subsequent January plan was also shelved as Povetkin took time to recover, and it was a further two months before the match took place. Even then though Povetkin just did not look right as he struggled for balance, speed and power right from the opening bell.

His manager Dmitry Ivanov has no doubt that his man was still suffering from the impact of that struggle against the pandemic – as he explained per BoxingScene.

“I am not a medical specialist, but, in my opinion, the coronavirus has not been fully studied, in particular from the point of view of the consequences [to the body after having it],” he said.

COVID put ‘Sasha’ in ‘sleep mode’

“Therefore, it is difficult to say just how much this disease affected the preparation and the fight itself. I believe that it greatly influenced the functional ability and physical state [of Povetkin], as well his ability to concentrate, pay attention and his reaction time.

“In my opinion, all of the functions that Povetkin had were now in more of a sleep mode.”

Povetkin looked like an old fighter in the Whyte rematch, one who just could not function at the speed and level required. Seven months earlier he had knocked out Dillian with a stunning left uppercut in round five of their first meeting.

Povetkin likely to retire

While Povetkin is now expected to retire, Whyte is once again the WBC interim heavyweight champion and again chasing down a title shot for the belt currently held by Tyson Fury.

He will need to wait a while though, with Fury slated to meet Anthony Joshua in a huge unification match this summer. The pair have signed contracts and now a date and venue is in the process of being finalised.