If there is any justice in boxing, Dillian Whyte is finally closing in on his shot at the WBC heavyweight title. After Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder meet for the third time in Las Vegas on Saturday, Whyte should be next. But Whyte is not quite believing it yet.
When Oleksandr Usyk beat Anthony Joshua, a rematch clause meant a fight for the undisputed title was put on the back burner. No excuse then not to face Whyte. Fury has even suggested he will face Whyte in December, but Whyte, who is facing Otto Wallin at the O2 Arena, London, on October 30, is not expecting him to stick to it.
“Tyson Fury says he will fight me in December, so maybe I will get my shot in December,” Whyte said. “That’s what he said. But we all know the Gypsy Kid says a lot of things but doesn’t do a lot of things. I call him Houdini, he will do a disappearing act.”
The two have become increasingly unfriendly rivals over recent years, often exchanging unpleasantries over social media. Whyte can stand Fury labelling him “a bum”, but it is the promises to face him that he finds a drag. He spent more than 1,000 days as No 1 in the WBC rankings, first waiting for Wilder and then for Fury to give him a shot. But so far all the fighting talk has come to nothing.
“He just talks sh!t, that’s why I call him the Gypsy Kid,” Whyte said. “He’s like a kid, he talks sh!t the whole time.
“If you look throughout his career, he has won every single belt but he has never defended one of them, why is this? You strive to be the best in the world, you beat Wladimir Klitschko and then you throw your life down the drain. Why would he give up the British title and not fight David Price?
“Tyson Fury always runs from dangerous challenges. If he thinks he can beat you and he gets in your psyche, like Wilder, he will take that. Does he 100 percent believe he can beat me and Joshua? No.
“He’s got better feet than me and he is a bit bigger than me, but he knows, I have spent time with Tyson Fury, we have sparred before, many times.
“Tyson Fury talks like his is a ruthless killer. He talks like he is Earnie Shavers, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, but he’s not. Fury is just like a fluffer. He’s bigger than everyone else, he finds a way to get the job done and you have to respect that. It might not be the best way, but he finds a way to get it done.
“Fury just fiddles his way through fights. Does Tyson Fury’s style excite you? His style is not exciting. OK, he knocked out Deontay Wilder last time, but before that he just fiddled his way through. He tried to do the same thing against Wallin and that’s why he got cut.”
Whyte is particularly damning of Fury’s attitude to the collapse Fury-Joshua fight, which seemed set to go ahead in Saudi Arabia in August, only for it to fall through when a United States judge ruled that Fury must face Wilder instead.
“How could he abuse the fans like that?” Whyte said. “Get everyone’s expectation up ‘it’s on, I’m going to smash Joshua up, I’m going to do this and do that” and then when it is time to sign he goes missing and then all of a sudden, Wilder comes out with the mediation. He must have known the mediation was going on this whole time.”
So, Whyte is not sitting around waiting to see what will happen and instead is going ahead with the fight against Wallin, who gave Fury a fright when he was badly cut in their meeting in Las Vegas in 2019.
“I need to keep busy, because if I was going to wait for my shot, I’d have already been waiting three years,” Whyte said. “I have to have fights where I can get better, so in case a title fight comes along, I will be ready. It’s just taking a long time.
“It’s about time they start doing right by me. They have to start thinking ‘we have to give this guy a title fight’, otherwise this issue is going to have to get forced.”
Originally, Whyte seemed likely to face Chris Arreola, but when talks over that broke down, Wallin stepped up. Whyte says he has been impressed by the way Wallin has approached the fight so far.
“He is the best guy out there, he is saying the right things and has a good attitude,” Whyte said. “He’s not saying he is coming for a good fight, he is saying he is going to take me to school and knock me out, so he is saying the right things.
“It’s a long time since I had that kind of energy in a fight. My last two (against Alexander Povetkin) have been business fights, workmanlike. Povetkin I had a lot of respect for – an Olympic gold medallist, a world champion, lost to him, back to the drawing board, start again. There wasn’t any needle, I never had a bad word to say about him. I never said it was a lucky punch.
“Wallin is saying the right things. It is good to feel like that.”
So, instead of coming to Las Vegas to chase after Saturday’s winner, Whyte is training in London. He cannot afford to be distracted against Wallin and can’t get too worked up about a possible fight with Fury yet. He feel he has heard it all before.
“He pulled out with two or three fights with me,” Whyte said. “He told the WBC ‘make this fight and I’ll fight him’ and then he pulls out. And he’ll pull out in December as well, guaranteed.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.