Heavyweight hero Alexander Povetkin has reportedly returned to light training after being hospitalized by Covid-19, but the man he knocked out in spectacular fashion will have to wait for a rematch while his recovery continues.
British brawler Dillian Whyte, who veteran Povetkin floored in a knockout of the year contender in England in August, bizarrely alleged earlier this month that his Russian rival had faked a positive Covid-19 diagnosis in order to delay a rematch.
Povetkin’s representatives responded by reiterating that their fighter was in hospital, offering to send promoter Eddie Hearn medical records to prove he was ill as the row escalated amid widespread mockery of Whyte.
Now the 41-year-old has posted a photo of himself on his feet for the first time in more than a month, posing alongside former champion Denis Lebedev and actor Vladimir Sychyov while offering his Instagram following of more than 261,000 a cheery message.
Russian news agency Tass quoted a source as saying: “Alexander has recovered; he is feeling well now.
“He is gradually beginning to train but not in full force. It is not yet determined whether the fight with Dillian Whyte will take place in January.”
Whyte is desperate for another shot at Povetkin following his surprise defeat on home soil, which seriously derailed his hopes of challenging for a title next year.
“I personally don’t think he’s got Covid,” Whyte had blustered, claiming that Povetkin had taken “a lot of damage” in the opening four rounds of the behind-closed-doors scrap.
“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.”
The Londoner’s conclusion seemed unlikely given that the durable Povetkin has only been knocked out once in his career, against multiple champion Anthony Joshua in 2018.
Whyte had won all four rounds on the scorecards and knocked Povetkin down twice in the fourth, but the clubbing uppercut with which the “White Lion” ended the fight did not suggest he had suffered extensively.
“Good morning and have a nice day,” Povetkin said in his new post, telling his fans that he had visited a sauna and his comeback was going “according to plan”.
Russian UFC legend Oleg Taktarov was among those voicing their support, writing on Sychev’s page: “Three heroes.”
Whyte remained on provocative form a day before his fight with Povetkin had been due to take place last week, telling an interviewer that former WBC champion Deontay Wilder was a “****” and a “piece of sh*t”.