Dillian Whyte says he still is not sure whether he will get Tyson Fury in the ring next year, because he just isn’t sure what Fury is going to do.
Whyte had been due to face Otto Wallin on Saturday, but a shoulder injury saw that fight scrapped. With Whyte, the interim WBC heavyweight champion, finally due to get his shot at the full belt, held by Fury, it seems that fight will now be next in the Spring.
Fury was given 30 days after his win over Deontay Wilder this month to negotiate a fight with Oleksandr Usyk, the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF champion, or face the interim champion next. But with Usyk tied into a rematch with Anthony Joshua, Fury will be ordered to face Whyte.
“The Tyson Fury fight is one I tried to get mandated before for a belt, it didn’t happen,” Whyte said. “Fortunately for me it seems like it is going to go ahead, but you can never bank on anything with Tyson Fury because he might just say ‘I’ve had enough, I don’t want to fight any more’.
“He’s had three hard fights with Deontay Wilder, we don’t know how much they have taken out of him. So, now I am going to just focus on recovery and do what I have to do.”
If the fight does go ahead, Whyte hopes it will take place in the UK. Fury last boxed in the UK in the summer of 2018 when he beat Francesco Pianeta in Belfast.
“It’s the major fight in boxing, especially for the UK, if me and him can dust up in the early part of next year in a stadium,” Whyte said.
“I think Tyson Fury will look forward to fighting as well. We know each other well, we sparred each other, spent time with each other, we’ve had our ups and downs, our beefs and stuff. But logically he will think it’s a big fight, a homecoming fight, and I think it should happen, so let’s see.”
Whyte insisted that there was nothing underhand about his injury, despite Wallin’s camp demanding that the fight is rearranged.
“It’s boxing, these things happen,” Whyte said. “Because it’s heavyweights, I’ve been sparring some big guys, I had four massive southpaws in camp. I didn’t make the same mistake that Tyson Fury made by underestimating Wallin, so I was putting in extra hours and extra shifts and the injury just happened.
“To people who say ‘he pulled out because of Tyson Fury’, if that was the case, I would have pulled out three to four weeks ago when I knew the mandatory position was going to be in place.
“My training camps cost me a lot of money, so I would have pulled out early to avoid all of this. I have fought many times before with injuries, I’ve fought with an injured shoulder before, a broken hand, broken ribs. But I am at a stage of my career when I have to use a bit more brain instead of just brawn.
“I wanted to fight, I said to my guys, ‘can’t I just put some f------ morphine in it or something and just have a go?’ But they said ‘you’re not a caveman, you need to be smart, it is not like there is one fight left in your career’.
“I’m disappointed, heartbroken, I really wanted to smash Otto Wallin up. I feel I could have knocked him out in the first six or seven rounds. He’s good early, but he wants to box and fiddle around, I’d have put pressure on him, I would have been attacking his body relentlessly. So, I’m a bit annoyed and pissed off but this is boxing.
“Alexander Povetkin pulled out against me, it cost me a lot of money, but I didn’t say anything. Josh Taylor pulled out of a fight injured, but he didn’t get any stick.”
Whyte said his initial instinct had been to carry on training with the injury.
“I had the injury, but we’ve had loads of injuries in camp before, it’s normal,” he said. “I’m mentally and physically tough, so I always try to push on. The guys [in camp] could see there was something wrong, but I was ‘no no, I’m all right’. Sometimes I was sparring with basically one arm only. I was giving it a go, trying my best.
“I thought I could rest and make the fight. But that is a double-edged sword, because if you rest your shoulder gets better but your conditioning will go. I do a lot of sparring. I have four guys and they do two rounds each. I’m used to pain and struggle, I was still in good shape, so I thought as late as Monday that I could make the fight.
“People need to put a bit of respect on my name. I fought Joshua, I fought Rivas, I’ve been trying to fight Tyson Fury a couple of times. I try to fight all the best people, why would I be scared to fight Otto Wallin?”
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.