Dillian Whyte says he would have had no choice but to retire if he was not able to pull out a victory over Jermaine Franklin.
Instead, the longtime Jamaican-British heavyweight contender could be headed toward another big fight—and big payday—against Anthony Joshua early next year in what would be a rematch of their 2015 encounter. Joshua, who is coming off two consecutive defeats to unified champion Oleksandr Usyk, won that fight via stoppage.
Saturday night at Wembley Arena, Whyte defeated Michigan’s Franklin on points in what turned out to be a tough, nip-and-tuck affair. One judge had it a draw (115-115), while two others had it both 116-112 for the Briton. It is Whyte’s first fight in seven months since his disastrous sixth-round technical stoppage at the hands of WBC titlist Tyson Fury.
Whyte said he was nervous going into the Franklin bout because of the potentially career-crippling outcome he was facing.
“It was simple,” Whyte told Boxing Social postfight. “The talk with my team was if I lost today I would have to hang them up. That was tough. Imagine going into a fight knowing that’s what’s looming in the background. You know? It’s crazy. Throughout the whole camp there was a lot of pressure because I was thinking (of the consequences of a loss)…It’s not easy, man. You see guys lose and break down mentally in the ring.”
Many observers, however, believe Whyte was fortunate to win a majority decision, given Franklin’s seemingly better-than-anticipated performance. The untested Michigander even seemed to momentarily stun Whyte in the sixth round with a right hand.
Whyte rejected the notion that he deserved anything less than a win, saying there was an instance where he believed the referee failed to give him credit for a knockdown. Whyte pinned the blame on the British Boxing Board of Control, with whom he has had a contentious relationship over the years.
“I don’t care,” Whyte said of critics who believe he did not deserve more than a draw against Franklin. “Listen, there have been many close fights before. I won that fight. I won that fight. I pressed the fight. From 10, 11, 12, I pressed the fight. I knocked him down but they didn’t call it a knockdown. I didn’t complain. Listen, it’s not the first time that the British Boxing Board of Control (was not fair to me) … when I knocked [Derek] Chisora down [in 2018] they didn’t call it a knockdown and the referee picked him up. When I knocked Franklin down, they didn’t call it a knockdown. So, what am I going to do? Cry about it?”