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‘We underestimated the effects of Covid’: Povetkin team KOs talk of January rematch with Whyte after Russian is hospitalized AGAIN

‘We underestimated the effects of Covid’: Povetkin team KOs talk of January rematch with Whyte after Russian is hospitalized AGAIN
WBC interim heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin won't rematch Dillian Whyte in January as planned after his team confirmed that the experienced Russian fighter is still dealing with the after-effects of his Covid-19 diagnosis.

Povetkin was due to rematch Whyte on January 30 after defeating the British brawler by fifth-round TKO four months ago, but according to his promoter, Andrey Ryabinsky, those plans are now dead and buried after he confirmed that Povetkin is taking longer to recover from the virus than they had initially envisaged.

This comes after the rematch, which was initially slated for November, was canned after Povetkin first contracted Covid-19. 

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"Sasha had to go to hospital again for examinations. The other day he was discharged and is now starting training," Ryabinsky was quoted as saying by TASS

"We'll increase the workload in stages, under the supervision of doctors. Boxing is a serious load on the body, I won't allow Sasha's health to be risked."

Ryabinsky added: "There will be no fight with Whyte in January. We underestimated the consequences of the virus, everything did not go as smoothly as we thought...

"We will discuss and appoint the date of the fight when we understand at what pace we can move with preparation."

Povetkin's August victory over Whyte ensured his position as the interim WBC champ - a road which ultimately leads to the holder of the full belt, Tyson Fury. 

However, with Fury likely to face either Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder next, any talk of mandatory challengers has been put on hold for now and extends the timeframe for which the Povetkin-Whyte rematch may take place.

Whyte, though, has donned his tinfoil hat and suggested that Povetkin's Cvoid claims are little more than a tactic to delay the rematch - even going so far as to suggest that Povetkin might not be telling the truth regarding his diagnosis.

"I personally don't think he's got Covid," Whyte told Sky Sports earlier this month.

"I think he just needed more time to get ready, because he took a lot of damage in the first fight. After the first fight, he took a lot of time off. Even though I got stopped, I went straight back to training and I got straight back on it."

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Ryabinsky furiously shot back, saying that Povetkin's illness required hospitalization and that he could send documentation to prove it to Whyte's promoter, Eddie Hearn.

"This can happen to any athlete. Sasha was in the hospital, we have all the documents at hand," he said. "If Eddie Hearn has any question of this kind, I am ready to submit all these documents."

To date, the 41-year-old Povetkin has been defeated by just Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko throughout his 39-fight career. Whyte has similarly tasted defeat twice, also losing to Joshua in addition to his August TKO defeat to the Russian.