The fate of Dillian Whyte’s boxing future will likely come to light by the first week of October—just not a moment sooner.
More than six weeks have passed since the heavyweight contender vowed to clear his name in the aftermath of a 12-round win over previously unbeaten Oscar Rivas. The July 20 bout in London, England provided plenty of in-ring entertainment and drama, but paling in comparison to the aftermath in which it was learned that a pre-fight drug test involving Whtye—conducted by United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) agency on June 17—showed adverse findings with respect to two metabolites of a banned substance.
Whyte and his team weren’t informed of the June 17 test results until three days before his bout with Rivas. Worsening the situation in the court of public opinion was Rivas and his team not learning of the development until four days after the fight, and only through a breaking news story published by BoxingScene.com.
Whyte offered a statement on July 26 through social media, reiterating that he was “cleared to fight and won fair and square” while his lawyers were on the case for all other matters.
Nothing in the way of a substantive update has since been provided, with the media and boxing public instead asked to take a wait and see approach. The same status applies in present day, although with a potential timeline in place for closure, one way or another.
“I'm actually seeing him on Monday for an update,” Eddie Hearn, Whyte’s promoter told IFL TV in touching on the subject. “His lawyers are dealing with UKAD. I believe there is some kind of hearing... taking place in early October.
“Hopefully after that, everything will be published, cleared and he can continue to box.”
During a confidential hearing which took place on the morning on his last contest, Whyte (26-1, 18KOs) was cleared to fight, but the matter remains under review by UKAD. The ongoing investigation doesn’t preclude the heavyweight from continuing his career, although all parties involved have agreed that it’s best served to allow the facts of the case to be properly revealed before taking such a step.
“I think it's important it's dealt with before he fights again,” noted Hearn. “Right now, he can box tomorrow but I don't think that's necessarily right for the paying public. But it's important to know he's cleared to box. He's not suspended by anybody, he's cleared to box. He's able to box. But I just think for where he's at in his career, for the profile he's got that he needs to draw a line under this and that's what they're trying to do.”
Whyte previously served a two-year ban after the banned substance methylhexaneamine was found in a collected sample from a random drug test surrounding an Oct. 2012 win over Sandor Balogh.
The hope is that history doesn’t repeat itself, though it will be up to Whyte and his legal team to provide supporting proof that the June 17 test was an anomaly. The 31-year old heavyweight had tested clean during the entire protocol with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA), who publicly welcomed Whyte and Rivas into the program on April 26.
Both boxers provided negative results for all post-fight drug testing.
As the UKAD investigation is ongoing, the World Boxing Council (WBC)—whose interim heavyweight title was at stake—is also looking into the matter and closely tracking such progress. Whyte’s win was to guarantee him a shot at reigning WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder but such status has been suspended—although not the fighter himself.
With the right ruling, Whyte can both resume his career and continue his pursuit of his first world title shot following the latest victory to extend his current 10-fight win streak. No such plans for his next bout are in place, just the hope that there is a next fight to be planned.
“I believe he'll fight (again) this year,” stated Hearn.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox