Dillian Whyte’s KO loss to Alexander Povetkin might be a ‘godsend’ as top heavyweights will want him more, says Johnny Nelson
After over 700 days as the number one contender in the WBC rankings for their heavyweight title, Dillian Whyte lost that status when he was stunned by Alexander Povetkin last month.
With that knockout defeat went his right to be next in line to face Tyson Fury. Until that point, Eddie Hearn had said Whyte getting his shot at the world title was a priority, even above Anthony Joshua’s unification ambitions.
Whyte and Povetkin will meet again on November 21 where The Body Snatcher will look to set the record straight.
Johnny Nelson spoke to talkSPORT this week about Whyte, ahead of the release of his new online at home training programme Get ON It, and explained why he thinks the loss might actually prove to be beneficial for the Brit.
“I actually think it might be a good thing,” he declared.
“Now, some of the top five or top 10 will say ‘actually, I’ll give him a go now,’ because not many people have fancied getting in there with him.
“He’s a hard, hard fight. They would have rather pad out their record and get in there with someone they’ve never heard of.
“Now, after being knocked out, other fighters will think that’s twice now at this level.
“That’s the same shot that he’s been knocked out with – I’ll have some of that. So that vulnerability makes him more enticing. The same thing with Anthony Joshua after Andy Ruiz made him look more enticing.
“If and when Tyson Fury loses, once you see the blueprint to beating somebody, then it’s like ‘ahhh, there you go!’
“There’s no blueprint for Fury right now, but when somebody finds it, things will get interesting.
“But I think for Dillian Whyte, him losing might actually be a godsend because when he was winning and winning and winning, people thought ‘nah, I don’t want any of that.’”
Whyte has a reputation for taking tough fights and not ‘playing the game’ like many others have been accused of. This Povetkin fight was a risk and it was the one time he couldn’t afford to lose.
However, Nelson believes victory in the rematch will set the 32-year-old back on course for some huge showdowns.
Frank Warren has made noises about wanting to see Daniel Dubois step up and face Whyte among many other cross-promotional matches with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
Hearn seems receptive to working more closely with his rival promoter – telling talkSPORT this week that he intends to Warren to slap-up meal at the end of September to thrash out agreements on fights.
Nelson doesn’t believe a Whyte vs Dubois will be made anytime soon, though.
“Eddie and Frank are two smart promoters that are trying to push their fighters to the top as best they can,” he said.
“Sometimes a fight that we all want isn’t in the immediate interest of one or either promoter when they’re growing a star.
“Frank would push for Dubois and Whyte because he knows if he does that, there’s chance Dubois will leapfrog Whyte into the title mix. Eddie doesn’t have to do that and that’s where the problem lies.
“He’ll be thinking you make Dubois into an attractive proposition like my fighters are to you right now and then we’ll do business. They might sit down and do business but it’s hard to envisage.”
In Dubois’s case, he has to defeat compatriot Joe Joyce to put himself in the mix for the biggest heavyweight fights.
“Well, I think Dubois is number two with the WBO, just behind Oleksandr Usyk. So with Dubois and Joe Joyce facing each other, they’ll jump into the top five of another governing body,” said Nelson.
“So therefore I’d put them into contention and with the fighters that are out there – like Fury, AJ and Whyte – they are going to have to come forward with one of Dubois and Joyce at some point, but the problem is the politics in our sport.
“Frank Warren is not an idiot, he knows the sport and what he has in Dubois. I think he thinks Dubois versus Joyce is a calculated gamble and it will elevate him for the big fights.
“Joe Joyce is no pushover, he is tough. So a win over him puts Dubois in the mix. Either of them are depending on who wins, to be honest.”
Get fit, lean and learn how to box with the new Get ON It training guide, released on Sunday, September 20, featuring expert sessions from Johnny Nelson and Spencer Oliver