Alexander Povetkin, left, defeated Dillian Whyte to win the WBC interim heavyweight title. Mark Robinson-Matchroom Boxing

Dillian Whyte’s hopes of a world heavyweight title fight suffered a major setback when former Olympic champion Alexander Povetkin twice came back off the canvas to knock out the British fighter.

Whyte, 32, had been the WBC’s number-one contender for over two years and was hoping victory behind closed doors on Saturday would pave the way for a world title shot at either defending champion Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder.

Whyte twice put Russian 40-year-old Povetkin down in the fourth round but was then knocked out in fifth by the former WBA world champion.

Alexander Povetkin, left, defeated Dillian Whyte to win the WBC interim heavyweight title. Mark Robinson-Matchroom Boxing


“I didn’t feel I would finish the fight like this. I was confident in the fourth round even after going down twice,” Povetkin told Sky Sports after winning the bout courtesy of a devastating left hook.

Promoter Eddie Hearn added: “When the punch landed, I thought it was a dream. I can’t believe it.

“Two heavy knockdowns from Whyte – people felt it was over. This is the drama of heavyweight boxing. One punch completely changed the fight.

“It is a shock. He wasn’t that much of an outsider – we knew how good Povetkin was. It was a thrilling knockout on a thrilling night.”

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