Dillian Whyte insists that Alexander Povetkin admitted how badly he was hurt in the moments after their first fight.
Whyte twice knocked Povetkin down in the fourth round and believed his rival was on the verge of being pulled out by his corner, but the Russian roared back with a fifth-round knockout.
The heavyweight rematch is set for Saturday night in Gibraltar, live on Sky Sports Box Office, and Whyte is taking heart from Povetkin’s frank admission last year.
“I know how much I hurt him because of what he said to me after the fight,” Whyte told Sky Sports.
“He’s a guy who doesn’t speak English but he came to me and said: ‘You are way better than I thought, you are very strong, very good’.
“He didn’t think I would activate a rematch clause at the time!”
Whyte has previously alleged that he was on the brink of victory: “He was done – they were saying ‘we are pulling you out at the end of this round’.”
To which Povetkin denied: “There was no such conversation in the corner. The people who know me know that I fight until the end.”
Whyte had waited over 1,000 days for a shot at the WBC heavyweight championship but his status as mandatory challenger evaporated when Povetkin uncorked an uppercut to seal an improbable comeback.
Whyte told Sky Sports on Tuesday: “He’s a top fighter. He had 200-odd amateur fights, winning everything, he has beaten top fighters.
“But I’m coming for war on Saturday night. I’m coming to put the hurt on him as soon as possible. I’m coming to do damage.
“Last time, I didn’t hit him properly. They were glancing punches. If I land properly on any heavyweight I can destroy somebody.
“I can knock out any man on this planet. I carry power in both hands. You’ve seen me knock out guys that don’t usually get knocked out.
“Povetkin is tough and resilient but also very dangerous. I know what I need to do.”
Watch Povetkin vs Whyte 2 on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren’t a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it here.