By Tris Dixon
Dillian Whyte was the headliner of Eddie Hearn’s O2 show on Saturday night and he survived a late scare to narrowly outpoint Joseph Parker in another humdinger.
Shaken and floored in the last seconds, Whyte survived to hear the final bell.
“I thought there was another minute or so,” Hearn explained of the last moments of the show. “It was a mixture of hurt and tiredness. But there are times when he [Dillian] looks ‘gone’. He looked ‘gone’ against Chisora so many times but I think another 30 seconds or a minute and he was in big trouble.”
Chisora had been cheered on throughout his win by Tony Bellew, who is also promoted by Hearn. Eddie said talks have begun with Oleksandr Usyk’s team to match the cruiserweight king with Bellew.
“I’ve reached out to them,” he said of a bout that could be in the UK in November, though the O2 looks to be fully booked that month. “Tony Bellew accepts the challenge and we’re talking. It’s very early stages but we want the fight.”
Three Hearn prospects boxed on the big London show. Conor Benn, Antony Fowler and Joshua Buatsi all won.
Benn defeated Cedrick Peynaud in a rematch of their thriller last year.
“He was good,” Hearn said. “The problem is, you look at Fowler and Buatsi and they’ve had like 150 fights, boxed in the WSB… Conor had about 10 amateur fights so a lot of things he’s doing are good, he’s had to learn on the job but he’s [only] 20. It was a good win, but he’s got a long way to go.
“Buatsi by the way is a beast. If I had to tell you right now, one fighter and you’ve got to put money on them [to be a world champion], even in that division…”
As the London bill came to a close, Mikey Garcia was preparing to fight Robert Easter in the USA.
Asked if he was close to signing Garcia, Hearn said: “Let’s see how he gets on tonight. I believe he’s smart enough to sign with us.”