That sweetly-timed left uppercut from Alexander Povetkin has seen the WBC’s long-term mandatory contender Dillian Whyte fall to No.5 in the organisation’s latest rankings.
After months in pole position, Whyte was on the brink of rubber-stamping a shot at WBC king Tyson Fury in early 2021 when wily Russian Povetkin brushed off two knockdowns to upset him with a devastating fifth round KO last month.
A rematch has already been pencilled in for either November 21 or 28 as Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs) seeks to climb to the summit again.
In the latest WBC ratings, former champion Deontay Wilder leads the way (No.1) followed by Oleksandr Usyk (No.2 though also the WBO No.1 contender), Cuban veteran Luis Ortiz (No.3), Andy Ruiz Jr. (No.4) and then Whyte.
Povetkin is the sanctioning body’s ‘interim’ champion and oddly unrated even though previous ‘title-holder’ Whyte was ranked No.1.
It’s fair to say that few fans are beating down the door for an Anthony Joshua-Charles Martin rematch, but the IBF are doing their level best to make that happen.
Somehow, Martin (28-2-1, 25 KOs) is ranked the IBF’s No.2 contender and the American is on standby just in case mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev is not ready for his rescheduled tilt at unified champion Joshua in December.
Former champ Martin crumbled in two rounds against Joshua in April 2016, but has since rebuilt his career, most recently stopping Gerald Washington (WTKO6) in February.
“Charles is going to fight by the year’s end in a stay busy bout while we wait to see if Joshua vs Pulev actually goes off in December,” Martin’s manager Mike Borao told Sky Sports.
“In the event Joshua vs Pulev doesn’t take place for any reason, Charles will be fit and ready to step in with either fighter and/or fight for a vacated title.
“Charles is the dark horse of the division. People in the UK may count him out, but given the opportunity, he will prove them wrong and become two-time heavyweight champion!”
Great fighter turned promoter Oscar De La Hoya has plenty on his plate at the moment with his ongoing legal battle against star performer Canelo Alvarez and an improbable comeback planned at 47.
But former two-weight champion Sergio Martinez, 45 and already on the comeback trail, has said he would be intrigued by a showdown between the duo. Martinez is angling for a fight with WBA Regular 160lbs champion Ryota Murata, but would potentially accommodate De La Hoya first if an offer is on the table.
“In boxing nothing can be ruled out. It would be an honour, but my mind is set elsewhere. If that possibility can be given before [Murata], I would be delighted. He is a legend,” Martinez told journalist Alvaro Carrera.
Main image: Whyte falls against Povetkin. Photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom.