By Keith Idec
A victory over Oscar Rivas on Saturday night would win Dillian Whyte the WBC’s interim heavyweight championship and guarantee his long-awaited shot at Deontay Wilder.
Whyte won’t get ahead of himself, however, not with so much at stake Saturday night at O2 Arena in London. The brash British contender realizes Rivas is an imposing opponent, someone more than capable of knocking him of his track toward a title shot.
“You know me, man,” Whyte said during a press conference Thursday in London. “We’ve been working for a while. I don’t overlook no one. I train hard for everyone and the violence of this sport excites me. So, I trained for it. You know what I mean? I love that. You know, I trained for that and I’m ready for that. And why would I, all of a sudden, don’t overlook anyone in my career, and overlook someone now? Like I said, the man is dangerous.”
The 32-year-old Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs) came to the United States for his last fight and stopped American veteran Bryant Jennings (24-4, 14 KOs) in the 12th round of their January 18 fight in Verona, New York. The Colombian-born, Montreal-based Rivas hopes to do the same thing after crossing the Atlantic Ocean for his showdown with Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs).
“Look at him, you know?,” Whyte said. “He’s got it all. He’s got a great team. He’s training in Colombia. He trained here, he trained there, he done this. He came over, he adapted to the time zone and all this other stuff. Hundreds of amateur fights and all this other stuff. But that means nothing. This is gonna be a fight. And if there’s one thing I know how to do it’s to fight. I’ve been fighting forever. Anyone that know me will tell you. That’s what I do, I fight. You know? I don’t a lot of other things well, but I know how to fight.”
Rivas’ attributes aside, Whyte has fought a much higher level of opposition overall as a professional.
Whyte’s lone loss came against former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs), who stopped Whyte in the seventh round of their December 2015 meeting at O2 Arena. He also has defeated former WBO heavyweight champ Joseph Parker (26-2, 20 KOs), has two wins over Dereck Chisora (30-9, 21 KOs) and beat Robert Helenius (28-3, 17 KOs).
The Whyte-Rivas fight will be streamed live by DAZN in the United States on Saturday afternoon. It’ll headline a Sky Sports Box Office pay-per-view show in the United Kingdom on Saturday night.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.