By Keith Idec
Dillian Whyte wasn’t expected to face an imposing opponent August 19.
But his promoter’s pick for his opponent is egregious even for a scheduled eight-round, non-televised, tune-up fight. Eddie Hearn told iFL TV during an interview posted Tuesday on YouTube.com that Whyte will face long-faded former heavyweight contender Michael Grant on the Terence Crawford-Julius Indongo undercard next month at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Grant (48-7, 36 KOs) will turn 45 on August 4 and has boxed just once since October 2014. That ill-advised appearance resulted in Grant getting dropped three times on his way to a second-round knockout defeat to Poland’s Krzysztof Zimnoch (22-1-1, 15 KOs) on April 22 in Legionowo, Poland.
The Jamaican-born, London-based Whyte is 29 and has lost only to IBF/IBO/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs), who stopped Whyte in the seventh round of their December 2015 fight at 02 Arena in London.
The Whyte-Grant fight is pending approval by the Nebraska Athletic Commission.
In his previous two fights, the 6-feet-7, 264-pound Grant got stopped following the fifth round against Manuel Charr in October 2014 and lost by eighth-round technical knockout to Carlos Takam in May 2013. Grant has fought in just those three aforementioned fights since he defeated Frans Botha by 12th-round knockout in November 2011.
Whyte will fight for the first time since edging Dereck Chisora (26-7, 18 KOs) by split decision in a “Fight of the Year” candidate December 10 at 02 Arena.
Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. is the promoter of the Crawford-Indongo card, but Hearn has control of Whyte’s opponent because Matchroom Sport, the company Hearn runs, is paying the purses for that fight. Hearn is Indongo’s co-promoter and wants Whyte (20-1, 15 KOs) to get exposure in the United States as he pursues a fight against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.