Alexander Povetkin stands his ground in war or words with Dillian Whyte

Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin - World Heavyweight Title Fight

Alexander Povetkin has hit back at Dillian Whyte after being called a 'coward' as the Russian fighter prepares for his return to the ring.

Last year, Whyte slammed Povetkin and accused him of avoiding a potential fight between the pair, while both boxers were searching for opponents.

Before his fight with Dereck Chisora was arranged, Whyte was very critical of the Russian: "He's a good fighter, but also he's a coward as well, because he agreed to fight me at ringside after the David Price fight.

"Then he said no, I'm not going to fight, I will sit around and wait until I get the chance to fight Anthony Joshua."

Povetkin is aiming to return to the ring having not fought since suffering defeat to Anthony Joshua in September, but has chosen now to respond to Whyte's claims.

In a statement, the Kursk-born former WBA Heavyweight Champion launched a staunch fightback at the Body Snatcher.

He wrote: "Why on Earth would Whyte call me a coward?

"I personally can't understand. Everything is going according to a plan, I'm not going to tie up with boxing - I'm getting ready for a fight and who will be my rival doesn't matter to me."

It may all be laying down the foundations towards a possible clash between the pair later down the line in 2019.

At the moment Whyte is currently waiting to hear who his next opponent will be.

It will heavily depend on whether Anthony Joshua can reach an agreement with either Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury.

Dillian Whyte v Dereck Chisora 2 - Heavyweight Boxing

But Whyte is confident he can avenge the defeat from 2015 if given the opportunity in April.

He said: "It's a good fight, a good champion. I believe this time around I'll knock him out, because I'll take the fight to him. Last time I sat back and waited, I was trying to box, and trying to wait for him to get tired.

"This time I'll take the fight to him and I know I've just got to hit him once. I proved that already on two separate occasions, and this time I'm in better shape, physically I'm stronger. More boxing IQ, better speed, everything."

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