By: Ste Rowen
Ending 2018 on a high at London’s O2 Arena, Dillian Whyte scored a come-from-behind knockout of long-time foe, Dereck Chisora in the 11th round to once again cement his claim as the number one heavyweight contender.
Now 25-1 (18KOs), Whyte put to bed the controversy that remained from his first fight with Chisora in 2016 and spoke post-fight,
‘‘I knew it would come. They kept mentioning my left hook, so I worked on the right hand. I hit him with a right hand…He kept on making the same mistake, so I threw a lazy right hand, slipped a bit and then, BOOM.’’
In his customary British-coloured balaclava, Chisora entered the ring as confident as ever. Dillian, the WBC’s ‘Silver’ champion stepped over the ropes to the sound of AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black.’. The younger man by four years, it felt like Whyte knew he had a point to prove throughout the build-up.
The first bell rang, and though neither fighter needed an invitation to start wildly swinging, the instant action had calmed by the end of the first 180 seconds. The shaven-headed heavyweights put their foots back on the accelerator for the start of round two.
At the beginning of round three, ‘Del Boy’ looked to bob, weave and hook his way to victory as he landed on Whyte but only enough to back him up to the ropes, and not enough to stop his fellow Londoner. Whyte looked a little bamboozled as the third ended.
Chisora dominated into round five but took more shots to land some in the same round. Dillian, as long as he stayed on his feet, seemed alive in the bout no matter how hard his opponent hit. Once the fight entered the halfway stage, it was difficult to see a situation where Chisora wasn’t up on the cards. But then, a shining light for the ‘Body Snatcher’ as, with time remaining in round 8, Chisora was deducted a point for low shots.
Through to the ninth, though struggling to land cleanly, Dereck was clearly the man on top. He continued to step forward, land and weave his way out of the way of Dillan’s only attack.
By round 10, only a KO or a travesty-decision would save Whyte. Dillian continued to back up, as the crowd implored him to fight fire with Chisora’s fire, but he didn’t seem able or willing to do so. At the start of round 11, the referee took another point off Chisora for pushing down. Maybe Whyte would be handed the decision by default.
But then, to avoid controversy, with 1:16 left of the eleventh, Whyte landed a huge left counter-left hook to the jaw that dropped and finished off Dereck without doubt. ‘Del Boy’ stayed down for a concerningly long time but rose to applause from all, and the acknowledgement of his foe, Dillian.
With Anthony Joshua joining Whyte in the ring post-fight, it seems inevitable that the much anticipated Joshua-April opponent will be the rematch with Dillian. You can’t say the ‘Body Snatcher’ hasn’t earned it.
Rosales vs. Charlie Edwards
Charlie Edwards became the new WBC flyweight champion of the world with a suspect decision victory over now, 28-4 (19KOs), Cristofer Rosales.
Now 14-1 (6KOs), Edwards looked lively through rounds 1-3 but as the rounds drew on, the Brit struggled to reply whenever the Nicaraguan beat him to the punch. As the fight moved into round 8, Charlie continued to struggle to evade his opponent’s attack and rarely managed to lay off his own assault.
Through to round 10 it was a little worrying to see, on the UK broadcast at least, highlights only showing Edward’s best bits. Rosales took his fair share of head shots, but the champion was on top for the neutral viewer. His blue gloves kept Charlie constantly on the run and the Brit’s red face was only darkening as the fight grew on.
Edwards threw, and Edwards missed. A little like his first world championship attempt against John Riel Casimero, Charlie seemed a level below. Cristofer was making his second defence and seemed calm even when his opponent maneuvered his body behind the champion.
Edwards had a resurgent eleventh but spent almost all of the final round on the retreat, but both fighters saw the final bell. It was now up to the judges.
Boxing is already difficult to judge but when the commentators have an obvious bias, as in the UK broadcast, there’s very little point in their ‘live’ scorecards . The final judge’s scorecards were, 118-110, 117-111, 116-112 all for the new WBC flyweight champion of the world, Charlie Edwards. Hopefully a rematch will be his first defence. Don’t hold your breath.
Buatsi vs. Quinlan
In an absolute shocker of a fight, that counted as chief support – TO A PPV CARD – light-heavyweight prospect, Joshua Buatsi knocked out career super-middleweight, Renold Quinlan within the 1st round to move to 9-0 (7KOs) and retain his WBA ‘International’ title.
It’s another good development victory for the former Olympian but Joshua will no doubt be wondering why his promoter stuck him on as chief support against an unlively opponent.
Ryan Walsh, now 23-2-2 (11KOs), became the new British featherweight champion with a split decision victory over Reece Bellotti. The final scorecards came back as 116-112 (x2), 113-116.
Carlos Takam made early work of challenger Senad Gashi with a seventh round KO of the Kosovan challenger. Now 36-5-1 (28KOs), Takam is one to watch as the heavyweight contenders in 2019 look to make their next move outside of Joshua, Wilder and Fury.
Not for the only time tonight fans were treated to a suspect decision as David Price shifted to 23-6 (19KOs) with an unusual stoppage victory over fellow Brit, Tom Little.
Little was retreating as Price fired off right hooks, but it seemed he should have been given more of a chance to reply than the referee gave him. The fight was waved off and Price re-entered the scene for the heavyweight Lonsdale strap in 2019.