By Keith Idec
Dillian Whyte won’t just protect his spot as the WBC’s mandatory challenger for Deontay Wilder’s heavyweight title.
London’s Whyte will continue taking difficult fights until he finally gets his long-awaited WBC title shot. It would be wiser, of course, for Whyte to take on a less threatening opponent than previously unbeaten Colombian Oscar Rivas, who dropped Whyte with an uppercut in the ninth round of their fight Saturday night at O2 Arena in London.
Whyte has a different philosophy, though, for planning at least one fight he’ll have before he challenges Wilder or whomever holds the WBC title when that fight is made.
“I don’t like easy fights,” Whyte told Sky Sports on Monday. “I don’t like easy fights because sometimes you can underestimate the people you are fighting and think, ‘Ah, it’s a walk in the park.’ And I don’t like doing that. I like hard fights. Fights where they get you edgy and you think, ‘Let me do extra on my run or push a little harder.’ So, I like these hard fights. ‘Let me do that extra round of sparring. Let me leave no stone unturned.’ ”
The 31-year-old Whyte was able to get up from that ninth-round knockdown Saturday, regained control and recorded a unanimous-decision victory over Rivas in their 12-round fight for the WBC interim heavyweight championship. Since former champion Anthony Joshua stopped him in the seventh round in December 2015, Whyte (26-1, 18 KOs) has beaten Dereck Chisora (31-9, 22 KOs) twice – once by split decision and again by knockout – Robert Helenius (28-3, 17 KOs), Lucas Browne (28-2, 24 KOs), former WBO champ Joseph Parker (26-2, 20 KOs) and now Rivas (26-1, 18 KOs).
Those victories have more than earned Whyte what would be the first legitimate title shot of his eight-year pro career. He’ll have to continue waiting for it while Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) faces Luis Ortiz in a rematch and, if Wilder wins that bout, Tyson Fury a second time.
“It should happen by May next year or whatever,” Whyte said. “But this is heavyweight boxing. You never know what is going to happen, how it’s going to go down.
“But I’ve done the work. I’ve won the fights. I’ve paid the sanctioning fees. I’ve won every single WBC belt that I’m eligible for. So, we’ll see what happens.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.