Whyte vs Povetkin: Hearn hatches Winnebago plan

Eddie Hearn may have to hire a Winnebago in a desperate bid to keep the fighters apart ahead of  the huge Whyte vs Povetkin heavyweight showdown on Saturday night (August 22).

Whyte (27-1) and Povetkin (35-2-1) will lock horns for the WBC interim heavyweight title and the WBC Diamond Belt as ‘The Body Snatcher’ puts his status as mandatory contender for Tyson Fury’s belt on the line.

But given the unusual circumstances surrounding the bout – taking place “in the bubble” and behind closed doors at Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex, Hearn has very real concerns about what might happen if the pair should meet before Saturday night. COVID-19 quarantine rules mean all fighters will spend fight week at a hotel near the fight venue.

Whyte vs Povetkin Fight Poster
Whyte and Povetkin meet at Fight Camp on August 22 (live on Sky Sports Box Office).

He told Sky Sports: “We are looking at the possibility of hiring a Winnebago and parking it in the private area that we have in the hotel car park because I don’t think it’s safe for Whyte to be around Povetkin in fight week.

“(Katie) Taylor and (Delfine) Persoon are incredibly edgy but, as vicious as Taylor is, I can’t see her having a tear-up with Persoon in the corridor,” said Hearn.

“Whyte is a different kettle of fish. If we don’t separate these guys they will be rolling down the hill towards the A12.

“It is a serious, serious point I’m making to the British Boxing Board of Control. We need to make sure those two are separated and segregated.”

Hearn, who is seeking permission to activate operation Winnebago, says this is not a gimmick and he has very real reason for considering it.

“I’m not worried about Povetkin, I’m worried about Whyte because he has already told me: ‘If I see this guy in my face on fight week in that hotel, I can’t be responsible for my actions’.

“So we need to make sure that we don’t have issues. Keep them apart to make sure the fight goes ahead.

“We are looking at contingency plans which includes the Winnebago, and we are seeing if everyone is happy in terms of quarantining.

Team Alexander Povetkin
Alexander Povetkin and his entourage arrived in the UK in some style over the weekend (@eddiehearn/Instagram).

“The corridors [in the hotel]? You can’t get one big heavyweight down there, let alone two!”

For Whyte, the showdown with Povetkin is an important night laced with massive danger. He has been mandatory for the WBC belt for more than 1000 days now and Povetkin – even at the age of 40 – represents a major stumbling block to his ambitions.

The WBC has already ratified that should Whyte emerge victorious, he will face the winner of Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3 for the title.

Saturday’s bout – in the grounds of Matchroom’s palatial headquarters – will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view in the UK (price £19.95), and on streaming platform DAZN in its nine markets – United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, Brazil, Italy and Spain.