Whyte eyeing a second world title fight
Dillian Whyte is accustomed to taking risks, and the heavyweight with a burning ambition to claim a world title is back in the firing line against undefeated Colombian Oscar Rivas tonight at the O2 Arena, the victor set to be installed as interim champion and a mandatory challenger for the World Boxing Council title held by Deontay Wilder.
That said, Wilder is expected to have a rematch with Tyson Fury early in 2020, and both will take a contest in between, leading Whyte – who has been the WBC’S No 1 contender for more than 600 days – to remain philosophical about exactly when the world title will emerge.
At best, barring injury pull-outs, Whyte could be in the waiting room until the summer of next year.
The 31-year-old has amassed a formidable winning streak since his sole career defeat, by Anthony Joshua in December 2015.
“I’ll believe it when we step into the ring together, whoever is the champion then,” Whyte said yesterday. “But I’ve stopped worrying about it and just carried on building. I’ve learnt what patience is about in the last two years, and why boxing politics gets in the way. I was born to fight, and it is the thing I am good at. They say I’m the underdog in this fight, but they have said that about me so many times.
“I’ve fought world champions, world title challengers, and they all underestimate what I have – which is a fighter’s mentality and a fighter’s heart. My life has changed through boxing, and I’m really just getting started.”
Whyte faces an undefeated, hungry adversary in Rivas, who comes with a fearsome reputation in the ring, with good head movement, fast hands, and considerable power. The match-up ought to create a riveting, explosive contest.
“Rivas looks fit, strong, he’s undefeated but he doesn’t have anything I haven’t seen before. They always say they are going to beat me, but I’m getting better with every fight, every camp,” said the fighter from Brixton, south London, who has now had 10 camps at Loughborough University under the watchful eyes of an elite sports science team, and the wizened boxing knowledge of trainer Mark Tibbs, whose father, Jimmy, is a legend in British boxing and who once worked as a sparring partner for Muhammad Ali.
I expect Rivas to draw Whyte into exchanges early, and given the excitement generated in the Londoner’s victorious contests last year against Lucas Browne, Dereck Chisora and former world champion Joseph Parker, this ought to be no different.
He should win tonight by late stoppage, possibly through his famed left hook as Rivas tires, or by a narrow points margin.
Whyte v Rivas for the Interim World Boxing Council heavyweight title is live on Sky Box Office