DILLIAN WHYTE's hopes of rematching Alexander Povetkin in January have gone up in smoke after the Russian was hospitalised for a second time with Covid-19.
Brixton bruiser Whyte was set to renew his rivalry with the 41-year-old in November but saw his shot at redemption delayed until January 30.
But according to the Russian's promoter Andrey Ryabinsky, a return to the hospital for the veteran has seen those plans go up in smoke.
Ryabinsky said: "There will be no fight with Whyte in January.
"We underestimated the consequences of the virus, everything did not go as smoothly as we thought.
"We will discuss and appoint the date of the fight when we understand at what pace we can move with preparation."
Three-time world title challenger Povetkin is training again but Ryabinsky insists he's in no shape to be fighting in the near future.
He added: "'Sasha' had to go to hospital again for examinations. The other day he was discharged and is now starting training.
"We'll increase the workload in stages, under the supervision of doctors. Boxing is a serious load on the body, I won't allow Sasha's health to be risked."
Povetkin's latest hospitalisation will be a hammer blow to Whyte, who suffered a devastating fifth-round KO loss in their first encounter in August.
Whyte was furious with the first postponement of their rematch and publicly doubted Povetkin's Covid diagnosis.
He told Sky Sports: "I personally don't think he's got Covid.
"I think he just needed more time to get ready, because he took a lot of damage in the first fight.
"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."
Whyte's comments enraged Ryabinsky, who said: "This can happen to any athlete.
"Sasha was in the hospital, we have all the documents at hand. If Eddie Hearn has any question of this kind, I am ready to submit all these documents."
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