By Keith Idec
Dillian Whyte doesn’t understand why he needs to go through Luis Ortiz to get a shot at Deontay Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title.
Not only did Wilder knock out Ortiz seven months ago, according to Whyte, Ortiz didn’t want to fight him July 28. Wilder reiterated this week during a press tour for his December 1 fight against Tyson Fury that Whyte must beat Ortiz in a WBC elimination match before he’ll consider defending his title against the British contender.
“In my last two fights, I fought two former world champions, yet Wilder bleats that I have to fight Ortiz to be second-placed mandatory,” Whyte told Sky Sports for a story posted Thursday to the network’s website. “Who’s Ortiz’s best win? A dreadful points win over Malik Scott? Who Chisora knocked out?”
Late in April, less than two months after Wilder beat Ortiz, the WBC oddly ordered a Whyte-Ortiz eliminator and declared Dominic Breazeale the next mandatory challenger for Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs). Whyte was ranked No. 1 by the WBC, one spot ahead of the second-ranked Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) and three positions in front of the fourth-ranked Ortiz (29-1, 25 KOs, 2 NC).
Whyte still is rated No. 1 by the WBC, but Ortiz, now No. 2, and Breazeale, now No. 4, have switched positions in those rankings.
“I offered to fight Ortiz years ago, but he didn’t want to know,” Whyte said. “He didn’t even want to know this summer and asked for silly money, coming off his knockout loss to Wilder. And [he] made it clear that he wouldn’t be ready for July 28, which was the date we had available. Funnily enough, it didn’t stop him from fighting someone else on that day.”
London’s Whyte (24-1, 17 KOs) fought former WBO champion Joseph Parker on July 28. After dropping Parker twice, Whyte survived a 12th-round knockdown to top Parker (24-2, 18 KOs) by unanimous decision at O2 Arena in London.
That same night, Cuba’s Ortiz knocked out Razvan Cojanu (16-4, 9 KOs) in the second round at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Whyte wants to fight Wilder, but it’s more likely that he’ll first get a rematch with Anthony Joshua. While speculation persists regarding a December rematch between Whyte and Dereck Chisora (29-8, 21 KOs), Whyte probably is the frontrunner to challenge Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) for the British superstar’s IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles April 13 at Wembley Stadium in London.
“Wilder wants me to jump through more hoops that he dictates before I can fight him,” Whyte said, “yet he fought journeyman Jason Gavern immediately before he fought for the world title.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.