DILLIAN WHYTE blew 1000 days as No1 contender inside 15 minutes against Alexander Povetkin after a brutal KO.
The WBC interim and silver belt contest was billed as the ‘battle of the left hooks’ but it was a brilliant left uppercut that left the 32-year-old spark out on his back in the fifth.
Whyte scored two knockdowns on the 40-year-old Russian in the fourth round and looked to be coasting toward a 12th consecutive win and his long overdue title fight against the winner of Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder’s trilogy.
But the referee did not even need to count when Povetkin detonated a sensational shot on the Body Snatcher and robbed him of all of his dreams.
Whyte made a slow but steady start with half a dozen crisp jabs ramming into his rival’s face.
Povetkin was not as patient, hurling two wild haymakers over the top that Whyte dodged, making the celebrated amateur look amateur.
The couple of punches Povetkin did land were hooks to the body but they did nothing to worry the 18st Jamaica-born powerhouse.
Both bangers went to the body in the second, Whyte aiming his trademark left hook lower than usual to look for the Soviet’s ribs.
Povetkin rammed a couple of right hands toward Whyte’s gut but he never looked and he blocked the first looping left hook Povetkin aimed at his chin.
The South Londoner started the third with a thudding left hook to Povetkin’s temple that should have put him in the driving seat for the rest of the session.
But the wiley old 2004 Olympic gold winner slugged his way back into the rounds and might have pulled it back on the scorecards.
Whyte almost had the fight won in the fourth when he dropped Povetkin twice in the fourth. A couple of right hands and a left hook collapsed him early in the round.
The interim champ kept his cool, didn’t get greedy and waited until the end of the shift to again floor Povetkin with a left uppercut.
But Povetkin connected with a perfect peach of a shot and Whyte’s career was left in tatters.
The Brixton ace – who was stabbed and shot during a brutal childhood spent raising hell on the South London streets – wore a costume stab vest for his ring walk but it could not protect him against the savage blow.
Whyte spent 22 weeks training at his new Portugal training camp, a move that cost him his partnership with trainer Mark Tibbs.
He dropped around 18lbs after ballooning up to 19st 5lbs for a sluggish win over Mariusz Wach in Saudi Arabia in December.
Once he landed back in the UK on Tuesday he checked into the Brentwood Holiday Inn but chose to shack up on a couple of Winnebagos to avoid the Russian veteran.
Whyte and promoter Eddie Hearn claimed the motorhome motel was a necessary move to prevent any pre-bout rumbles but their cordial media duties on Thursday and Friday made the caravans look little more than a clever PR stunt.
Povetkin scored a savage win over Liverpool’s David Price in 2018 and outpointed Hughie Fury a year later. An patriotic Brixton boy Whyte insisted he had been eyeing up a revenge mission on the Soviet for two long years.
But Whyte’s two-fight nemesis Joshua – who was on the site for commentary duty – was not as generous to his fellow Londoner and backed Povetkin to land a shock win over his old rival.
And AJ was proved right as the man he beat in 2018 utterly flattened by the man he beat in a 2015 barnstormer.