Whyte eye­ing a sec­ond world ti­tle fight

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Swimming - By Gareth A Davies BOX­ING COR­RE­SPON­DENT

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

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