Whyte Eyeing Breazeale After Joshua Talks Fail
By: Michael Kane
With a fight against Anthony Joshua seemingly now not going ahead, Dillian Whyte hopes to fight Dominic Breazeale.
April 20th at the O2 Arena in London has been booked by Matchroom Promotions and it is likely we will see Whyte take centre stage at the venue where he has headlined the last three events.
Photo Credit: Anthony Fowler Twitter Account
Whyte had been in the running to face Joshua at Wembley Satdium on April 13th. That event now looks likely to be cancelled with Joshua heading Stateside to make his U.S debut against Jarrell Miller in June at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“The Joshua fight is dead. It is not happening at the minute, so we move on,” Whyte told Sky Sports.
“The good thing is I am in a position where I have got options. We wanted the fight, I think they wanted the fight as well but sometimes negotiations break down.
“I believe I have a certain value, bring a certain value to the fight. I need belief that this is what he wants to give me.”
“Negotiations in business are very difficult. The fans don’t really see the ins and outs of that. We move on.” he continued.
When asked who he is likely to face, Whyte answered, “I will fight April 20 here (the O2) hopefully against Dominic Breazeale, Alexander Povetkin, Luis Ortiz or one of those guys. Let’s see what Eddie can deliver in the next couple of days.”
If Whyte had to pick one, which one would it be?
“I would fight Dominic Breazeale because he is a big guy, only lost once and he is WBC mandatory challenger.”
“Even though I am number one for almost two years, he is number three and the mandatory, I don’t understand! We want to get to the bottom of that situation once and for all!”
Showtime Boxing Results: Whyte KO’s Chisora In the 11th
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.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Whyte vs. Chisora 2
By: Ste Rowen
Sequels and reboots are rarely worth the time it takes to make them, but unlike in the movies, boxing’s rematches and reignited rivalries, more often than not, entertain. This Saturday night’s box office event sees Dillian Whyte vs. Dereck Chisora 2: This Time It’s Personal…or something along those lines.
Whatever the tagline for the fight, a rematch of one of the best, all-action and non-title heavyweight fights is just days away after the original controversial decision, a LOT of back-and-forth; Whyte and Chisora are ready to get the O2 Arena rocking.
The two men fought just over two years ago on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Eric Molina in Manchester. That night, with all the talk of Dillian gearing up for a big 2017, and whether Dereck was already ‘washed’, once the bell rang both men went hell for leather in a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate.
The first fight began riding off a wave off an amplified bit of hype, including a press conference confrontation that saw one-time world title challenger, Chisora declare he was the ‘baddest man on the planet’ before literally launching a table in Whyte’s direction. So much was the anticipation for the bout that by the time the first bell rang, it seemed the only logical conclusion would be a disappointing matchup. That wasn’t the case.
Nearly knock-downs, heavy head & body slugging, and a controversial decision to top it all off; for 12 brutal rounds the two Brits went all out in a power-punching, but technically sloppy, classic. ‘Del Boy’ seemed to spend more of the fight on the front foot but Dillian ‘The Body Snatcher’ regained ground through sweeping, almost wild hooks, connecting.
Whoever you saw as the winner, it was close, and the judges thought so too as they awarded a split decision to Whyte.
‘‘I think I won,’’ Dereck, 29-8 (21KOs), said of the first fight when the two fighters sat down for Sky Sports Gloves Are Off programme, ‘‘They gave it to him because of what happened during the press conferences.’’
‘‘It was old school. I just went in there and thought ‘You know what? Let me go all out. If I get knocked out, I get knocked out’, I was just ready to go.
I’m gonna knock this fool out.’’
Fighting at the O2 for the third time in a row, Dillian is convinced he’s a different animal to the one who fought his domestic rival in 2016,
‘‘I never underestimated him. I knew he was a tough guy…He’s a veteran where every fight he has is last chance saloon…I’m a warrior by nature and so’s he. We had it and I think the same thing is gonna happen again this time, except somebody’s getting knocked out this time.’’
‘Del Boy’ linked up with his former opponent, David Haye in recent months, but Whyte isn’t worried about his rival teaming up with a past world champion,
‘‘I hope he does come in shape, I hope David can give him a 10% cos he’s gonna need it. He fought a very inexperienced Dillian Whyte. I had doubts about going the distance but now, I’m a different person.
He’s gonna get banged out!’’
Since the first fight, Whyte, 24-1 (17KOs), has teetered on the edge of a first world title shot with WBC champion, Deontay Wilder but was constantly made to wait, instead decisioning Robert Helenius, savagely knocking out former WBA ‘Regular’ titlist, Lucas Browne and roughing it out to a decision win over former WBO champion, Joseph Parker.
Chisora took 10 months off before stepping back in the ring after the Whyte defeat, but since then he’s won two walk-over bouts, dropped a decision to European champion, Agit Kabayel but, in one of his greatest wins, fought out another classic to stop Carlos Takam in 8 rounds.
The winner of Saturday’s main event will almost certainly be Joshua’s Wembley opponent, although fan pressure for the Wilder-unification fight could derail those plans. But if the rematch between Whyte and Chisora is anything like the first bout, we could be being setup for a rubber match in 2019.
Also on Saturday night’s O2 card…
Fighting for the WBC flyweight world championship, Cristofer Rosales takes on one-time world title challenger, Charlie Edwards. Nicaraguan, Rosales is coming off a body-shot KO victory over former Olympian Paddy Barnes – his first title defence.
Edwards fought and loss for the IBF belt in 2016 where he was stopped by John Riel Casimero. Since then he’s stayed busy but had little impact on the division.
Ryan Walsh vs. Reece Bellotti
Ryan Walsh looks to defend his featherweight British title when he goes up against 13-1 (11KOs), Reece Bellotti.
Bellotti tasted professional defeat for the first time this year when he was stopped by Ryan Doyle in June but bounced back four months later with a dominant 6-round points win over Brayan Mairena.
Walsh, 22-2-2 (11KOs) drew his only fight of 2018 when he fought out 12 entertaining rounds with the unbeaten, Isaac Lowe.
David Price vs. Tom Little
In the second all British heavyweight bout on the card, David Price looks to once again return from a stoppage defeat when he takes on Tom Little.
Price quit on his stool in after the 4th round of his matchup with Sergey Kuzmin in September. A loss that followed a devastating knockout to Alexander Povetkin earlier this year.
Also heading into this weekend on a run of defeats, Little was stopped by rising star, Daniel Dubois in five rounds six months ago; before that he was taken out by another prospect, Filip Hrgovic in four.
Joshua Buatsi vs. Renold Quinlan
Speaking of rising prospects, light-heavyweight, Joshua Buatsi looks to defend his WBA ‘International’ strap for the second time in a 10-round fight with career-168lber, Renold Quinlan.
Buatsi, 8-0 (6KOs), made lightwork of Tony Averlant in October and Saturday’s bout will be his sixth of 2018.
Quinlan, most famous for his 11th round stoppage to Chris Eubank Jr in 2017, goes into the Buatsi fight off the back of his second pro loss where he was stopped by Damien Hooper in nine rounds back in April.
Dereck Chisora “Going To War”
By: Sean Crose
The first time Dereck Chisora and Dillian Whyte fought, fans were treated to a heavyweight slugfest. Although the hard hitting Whyte won courtesy of a split decision that night in Manchester, England, the twelve round rematch, which will go down this Saturday at the O2 Arena in London, promises similar fireworks. “The first fight was a great fight,” admits Chisora, “but they gave it to him, and I was like why?” Chisora, however, was eager for a second chance with his fellow Englishman.
“I kept on saying, I want the rematch, I want the rematch,” Chisora says, “and they didn’t want to give it to me and they were pushing Dillian towards AJ, and then suddenly people kept saying they want the rematch, so they gave it to me.” Chisora, 29-8, who has been boxing professionally since 2007, has clearly been at the fight game for quite some time. “I was a fat kid,” he says, “went to Finchley to box, plus I was under probation for three years, actually the Metropolitan Police paid for my boxing class, they bought my first boxing boot, boxing gloves, headguard, gumshield, everything!”
It’s doubtful Chisora needs to worry about finding himself on probation again. Like his friend Tyson Fury, the fighter is openly religious. “Like the big man, Tyson (Fury) himself,” says Chisora, “you listen to his interviews, all I heard him say is ‘praise God, praise God,’ because he went and believed that little bit of Jesus which helped him to come back the great fighter he is.” Like Fury, Chisora embraced faith while being in a dark place. “I lost the fight in Monaco (against Agit Kabayel) which I was not supposed to lose and then, as I was giving my interview, something said, you know what?, you just need to give yourself to the Lord. It’s made me a better person.”
Heading into his crossroads bout on Saturday, Chisora appears upbeat. After the match, he claims: “I’m going to leave the ring, go home, and attack that Christmas Turkey!” If the rematch with Whyte is anything like the first bout, however, Chisora may be in for the fight of his life. “I’m going to war,” he says. “I hope he’s ready to go where I’m ready to go. If he’s not, he’s stupid. I’m coming. Hunt him down, just go hit him, hit him, just hit him, hit him, and hit and hit and pounce and pounce, pounce, pounce, pounce!”
Showtime Secures U.S. TV Rights To Whyte-Chisora II
By Jake Donovan
The brass at Showtime has taken great pride in maintaining an industry stance as the leading destination for today’s heavyweight landscape. No prouder moment came than with its coverage of the memorable 12-round draw between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.
It hardly meant the staff was content to bask in the glow of the aftermath.
In a surprise move, the U.S. cable giant has secured stateside broadcasting rights for this weekend’s heavyweight rematch between Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora. The event will air live from The O2 in London on its flagship network (Saturday, 5:30p ET) in the US and on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.
The event will serve as a one-bout telecast in regards to Showtime’s coverage. The rest of the show—including Cristofer Rosales’ flyweight title defense versus Charlie Edwards—will be limited to UK televised coverage on Sky Sports Box Office, which is carrying the Whyte-Chisora II PPV in its entirety.
The bout serves as a rematch to their Dec. ’16 thriller, with Whyte (24-1, 17KOs) claiming a split decision win in a back-and-forth battle that warranted year-end awards consideration.
“SHOWTIME continues to lead the industry by delivering more of the most compelling boxing events from around the world to our premium cable subscribers and online streaming customers,” said Stephen Espinoza, president of Showtime Sports in a statement released through the network’s press office. “This network has televised all of the most important heavyweight fights during the division’s renaissance and we are proud to join Matchroom Sports in delivering Whyte-Chisora II to our audience.
“Their first fight was action-packed from bell to bell. Now, with the stakes as high as they have ever been for both men, this bout promises to be even better. I hope that the boxing pundits have not yet cast their vote for Fight, Knockout and Round of the Year. Saturday’s matchup may challenge some of this year’s best.”
Chisora (29-8, 21KOs) has won three of his last four starts since then, including an 8th round knockout of Carlos Takam, in supporting capacity to Whyte’s 12-round win over former heavyweight titlist Joseph Parker also at The O2 this past July.
The wins were enough to prompt the brass at Matchroom Boxing to once again pair the two in the ring, this time raising the stakes. The winner is widely believed to land a coveted title shot versus unbeaten, unified titlist Anthony Joshua, who is currently tabbed to return next April 13 at Wembley Stadium in London.
With Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn having since moved over to DAZN, it was widely believed that the sports streaming platform would serve as the primary provider to all things Matchroom Boxing.
However, a development first reported by BoxingScene.com senior writer Keith Idec revealed that the relationship between Hearn and DAZN apparently doesn’t exclusively extend to its UK content.
It also raises interest in how deep Showtime can continue to delve into to the once-again thriving heavyweight landscape.
The network has been a major stakeholder in the heavyweight rebirth dating back to Deontay Wilder’s Jan. ’15 title-winning effort over Bermane Stiverne in their first fight. At the time, Wladimir Klitschko still served as the lineal champion, having also possessed every other piece of major heavyweight hardware aside from Wilder’s belt and with his bouts carried by then-industry rival HBO.
That changed in a very big way following Klitschko’s upset loss to Tyson Fury in Nov. ’15 and its subsequent fallout—Fury being stripped of a title and their twice-canceled rematch never coming to fruition leaving HBO in the dust and every other title up for grabs.
Showtime was the ultimate benefactor, pairing a vacant title fight between Charles Martin and Vyacheslav Glazkov on the undercard of Wilder’s title defense versus Artur Szpilka in Jan. ’16. Martin ultimately won the title via 3rd round injury stoppage, a move that paved the way for Joshua to enter the title picture.
The unbeaten Brit—who captured a Gold medal for Great Britain in the 2012 London Olympics—began a two-year run with Showtime in his two-round destruction of Martin in April ’16. The bout was the first of six straight that would air live on the U.S. premium cable outlet, a run that saw Joshua collect three alphabet titles including his epic off-the-canvas knockout victory over Klitschko in their 2017 Fight of the Year-level war and the not-so-thrilling but still effective 12-round win over Joseph Parker to become a three-belt titlist this past March.
The latter win came four weeks after Wilder survived some very rocky moments to eventually stop previously unbeaten Luis Ortiz in their March 3 war in Brooklyn. The two dates were scheduled by design, with hopes that it would lead to an eventual collision for all the heavyweight marbles later in the year.
It didn’t quite work out that way, as Joshua and Hearn instead took its services to DAZN. Joshua’s knockout win over Alexander Povetkin steered the platform’s maiden voyage in the US market this past September.
The move prompted Showtime to throw its support behind another unbeaten Britiish heavyweight in Fury.
Battling through drug and alcohol addiction and severe mental health issues, Fury enjoyed a triumphant ring return this past June in a knockout win over Sefer Seferi. His first fight since a career-defining win over Klitschko some 31 months prior was streamed live on Showtime’s YouTube channel, as was Fury’s subsequent 10-round nod over Francesco Pianeta in August.
The latter bout was far more pertinent to Showtime’s investment in his services, as it paved the way for his memorable clash with Wilder who was seated ringside that night and joined Fury in the ring immediately after the final bell. Their battle was announced a few weeks later, their December 1 instant classic headlining the first Showtime Pay-Per-View in the post-Floyd Mayweather era—and their first PPV that didn’t involve Mayweather since 2011.
Despite their eventual stalemate sparking wide debate as to whom really deserved the nod, the event generated worldwide buzz and a groundswell of support for an immediate rematch. It was a welcomed escape from dragged out “will they/won’t they” talks—or lack thereof—between Joshua and Wilder.
While Showtime remains entrenched in the Deontay Wilder business, Saturday’s rematch landing on Showtime rather than DAZN, the next question would be just who will get to hold the stateside rights to Joshua’s next ring appearance.
Any other answer than the one previously assumed makes this latest development a potential game-changer.
Whyte vs. Chisora II Officially Announced
By Jake Donovan
With a high-profile rematch versus unbeaten heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua potentially waiting in the wings, Dillian Whyte sets his sights on another past adversary to remain active in the interim.
The top-rated heavyweight contender will once again meet with Dereck Chisora, as their long-discussed rematch is officially set. The sequel to their Dec. ’16 Fight of the Year-level war will take place December 22 at O2 Arena in London, England.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
“It’s on,” Eddie Hearn, Whyte’s promoter enthusiastically exclaimed through his verified social media account on Thursday. “[The] Dillian Whyte and Derek ‘WAR’ Chisora rematch, Dec. 22 (at) The O2!”
The matchup was formally announced during a press conference Thursday in London. Among the details revealed were broadcasting rights, with the heavyweight scrap to air live on Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom and on sports streaming platform DAZN in the United States, both for whom Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing serves as the primary boxing content provider.
Their rematch comes just over two years after their Dec. ’16 thriller, in which Whyte (24-1, 17KOs) prevailed by split decision in a bout where both men were rattled but neither ever hitting the canvas.
For Whyte, the victory is among a current eight-fight win streak following the lone defeat of his career, a 7th round stoppage at the hands of Joshua who would go on to score knockout wins over Charles Martin and Wladimir Klitschko to become a unified heavyweight titlist.
Whyte’s name has surfaced high among the short list of candidates to man the corner opposite Joshua on a planned April 13, 2019 bill at Wembley Stadium in London. While it was important to remain active ahead of that potential fight date, a rematch with a career spoiler such as Chisora is a risk he didn’t have to take—but nevertheless boldly embraces.
More so, he sees a repeat win as a guaranteed ticket to his first career title shot.
“This will be Chisora’s last fight, the donkey’s last ride,” vows Whyte, whose impressive 2018 campaign already includes wins over previously unbeaten Lucas Browne and former titlist Joseph Parker. “I think that he needs to really have a good think about taking this fight because he’s going to be heading home after the fight looking like he’s been run over by a truck.
“I believe that I’ll knock him out in devastating fashion this time. Last time was my first 12 rounder and I was a little bit inexperienced but this time I’ll know exactly what to do. He’s at the end of the road.”
Wherever he may be in his career, Chisora (29-8, 21KOs) remains a dangerous task for any heavyweight on the planet. The divisional trialhorse—who turns 35 just a week after his forthcoming sequel with Whyte—is a modest 3-1 since their first fight but resurfaced in the heavyweight fold following an 8th round knockout of Carlos Takam this past July.
The bout came on the undercard of Whyte’s win over Parker, a show designed to set up a second pairing between the two. Talks stalled with the two seemingly intent on heading in opposite directions after Chisora signed with Hayemaker Promotions, run by his prior conqueror and one-time heated rival David Haye. Hearn intimated as much to media members when questioned after his October 20 show in Boston, revealing that the hunt was still on for a quality heavyweight to face Whyte.
Momentum somehow picked up in the past couple of weeks, though. With every other notable heavyweight either just coming off of a fight or booked in the foreseeable future, it only made sense for the two UK-based contenders to do it again—even if viewpoints vary on the delay in getting to this point.
“Dillian has spent the last two years avoiding getting back in the ring with me,” insists Chisora. “He knows exactly what it feels like to go toe-to-toe with me. For the next seven weeks he will have sleepless nights knowing what he has finally signed up to. His last couple of opponents didn’t come for battle, they didn’t even put heat on Dillian, on December 22nd I’m coming to burn him up!
“I was cheated in our first fight by the judges, everyone knows that I was the true victor. This time I have a score to settle, Dillian won’t be hearing the final bell to be saved by the judges. I will be stepping in the ring a different fighter. I have everything to prove and it all to lose. ‘Dell Boy’ is no more, ‘WAR’ Chisora doesn’t cut corners, he doesn’t skip sessions, he doesn’t look for the easy option. I’m in the gym every day pushing my body to its limit. I’m in complete control of my destiny, December 22nd will be WAR.”
His longtime rival welcomes the challenge—and the opportunity to once and for all turn the page on this chapter of his career.
“This is Heavyweight boxing and you never know what’s around the corner, but I’ve done what I need to do to secure a shot at a World title,” Whyte believes. “There’s always something getting in the way, other fights being made or money and politics ruining things, but after I finish Chisora nobody can deny me my shot.”
Per Matchroom Boxing press release:
Tickets are priced £40, £60, £80, £100, £150, £200, £300 and £600 VIP.
On sale dates: O2 Priority (Thursday 1 November) Matchroom Fight Pass (Friday 2 November, 1pm) and general sale via StubHub on Saturday 3 November at 1pm.
The Elite Boxers in the Heavyweight Division
By: Oliver McManus
Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora produced the two best performances of the night on Saturday at the O2 Arena and with that set up the potential for super fights across the heavyweight division, here we take a look at the five ‘elite’ heavyweights in the world and assess their credentials before a subsequent article next week will look at five ‘contenders’ –
Anthony Joshua – WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO Heavyweight Champion of the World
Where else to start but the face of heavyweight boxing? Anthony Joshua is capable of selling out Wembley Stadium with just the mere mention of his name and his record in the sport is simply remarkable – a gold medallist at his home Olympics in 2012, the pressure was always going to be on but, boy, has he handled the pressure supremely.
The 12th of December 2015 saw emotion seep into his fight-mentality for the first time as he let the rivalry between Dillian Whyte and himself get the better of his, previously, cool and calculated game plan with Joshua drawn into a firefight. Arguably that was the best thing that ever happened to him because it brought out a completely different animal within him, the killer instinct was born.
Wladimir Klitschko was legacy defining, there can be no other way of putting it, and whilst that clash highlighted the fact AJ was mortal – hard to believe, I know – you simply cannot knock the Watford-man for taking on and pulling off a feat of monumental proportions that many had previously tried and failed in, in only his 19th professional bout.
Oddly you could say his stock has fallen or, rather, the gap has got closer between himself and his closest competitors over the weekend with Chisora destroying Carlos Takam in a fashion far more convincing than Joshua and Dillian Whyte dropping Joseph Parker – once legitimately, once questionably – on the way to a unanimous decision.
Joshua is a rare breed of fighter in that he is seemingly willing to fight anyone and up against Alexander Povetkin in September he faces, previously, one of the most feared heavyweights in the world and, certainly, a huge puncher but someone that should be a relatively easy fight over Joshua’s last few tests.
2019, then, is the year for Anthony Joshua to continue in his pursuit of ever-lasting greatness.
Deontay Wilder – WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World
The ‘Punch’ to Anthony Joshua’s ‘Judy’ – a reference which anyone outside of the UK will need to Google – Deontay Wilder has a rather reasonable claim to being the hardest puncher in the current heavyweight division and is famed for his “windmill” shots which, when unloaded, signal a trademark finish to the fight.
Questions have, rightfully, been raised at the quality of Wilder’s recent opponents with the likes of Chris Arreola, Bermane Stiverne (the second time) and Artur Szpilka not exactly screaming “world class” but, having said that, Wilder has consistently dispatched the people put in front of him in a fashion you’d expect from the WBC Champion of the World.
Against ‘King Kong’ Luis Ortiz in March this year, the American was in the toughest fight of his career and took the best that Ortiz threw at him. Whilst the fight was a strong 50-50 prior to the stoppage that the Bronze Bomber managed to pull out of the bag, the contest showed that Wilder was capable of taking a shot to land a shot and that is the phrase that best defines his style.
Even when in with the best, genuine elite level fighters, he sticks to what he does well and that, very simply, is PUNCH. Now some may argue that shows a weakness in ability to adapt to the styles of challengers and whilst that is something that could be his downfall in the future, it’s worked with tremendous success thus far.
Not necessarily a household name in the United States – indeed you could say he’s more well-known on this side of the pond than in his own backyard – you can understand the strategy from those around him of building him up with all-American match-ups (Dominic Brezeale is rumoured to be the next defence) which enable him to gain profile and keep the belt with, relatively, easy fights.
BUT then comes the question of why on earth should a world champion need to have his profile built up? The fight with Anthony Joshua is a fight that NEEDS to happen in order for Deontay Wilder to be able to put to bed questions regarding the legitimacy of his reign and, for many, we’ve still yet to see the WBC champ fully tested.
Dillian Whyte – WBC Number 1 ranked heavyweight contender
Whyte proved his doubters wrong on Saturday with a scintillating win over Joseph Parker, make no mistake, he was sincerely rocked and challenged by the former WBO Champion, dropped to the canvas at one point, but what was most impressive about taking the barrage of punches was that he proved his chin has developed far more than anything else since he faced Anthony Joshua in 2015 –we always knew he had the agility, the power, the energy, that was never in question.
It’s hard to believe that it’s 18 months since Whyte went to war with Dereck Chisora, winning a split decision, but that bout seems to be symbolic of the way he goes about every fight – with an attitude of “guts and glory”, leaving everything on the line, and that’s something you cannot criticise because it produces excitement galore.
Up against Robert Helenius, Whyte really failed to click into gear when in the ring with the Nordic Nightmare and whilst the fight wasn’t aesthetically pleasing it was a valuable lesson for the Brixton Bomber because it showed him that, sometimes, you can’t go all-out for a knockout and have to box around the opposition, out-working them and simply fatiguing them into defeat.
With Deontay Wilder having been offered a princely sum – a career high pay day – to face Whyte (in the United Kingdom) and turning it down, there can be no doubt as to the stature of Eddie Hearn’s fighter and the attributes he possess all point to him being a world-champion in waiting.
Mild controversy erupted when he, and his team, turned down fights with Luis Ortiz and Kubrat Pulev in world title eliminators with many saying he was ducking the respective fighters but the fight with Joseph Parker seems to have answered all the questions being lobbied at him because whilst Parker isn’t as explosive as Ortiz he is faster, he is more sprightly and he’s every bit as technical as Pulev so, in a way, he got the best of both worlds.
I wouldn’t have said it three years ago but Dillian Whyte has proved me, and many critics wrong, and I’m happy to hold my hands up with regards to that because it was never anything personal but, for me, Dillian Whyte is the best heavyweight outside of the world title holders.
AJ in April? Sounds like a plan.
Kubrat Pulev – IBF Number 2 ranked heavyweight contender
Pulev is an interesting character, vastly underrated by fans and extensively avoided by fellow fighters, his technical style of boxing is one that hasn’t exactly played into his hands because with him not being a HUGE puncher, his technical and defensive aspect are exponentially enhanced and it makes him one heck of a challenge for anyone brave enough to take him on.
Dillian Whyte opted not to travel to Bulgaria to face Pulev and Jarrell Miller is another to have avoided stepping into unknown territory for the fight – which the IBF sanctioned, in both cases, as a final eliminator – and it’s not the location that is the sticking point but rather the risk-reward factor which strayed significantly into the risk region.
As I’ve said, Pulev relies on the technical fundamentals not to blast his opponents out of the ring but rather to get the better of them in the longer run, over the scheduled distance, with calculated punch output, shot selection, and beautifully timed footwork culminating in style of fighting bordering on art but so under-appreciated.
Another fighter to have taken on Dereck Chisora, emerge from the fight win the win and be levied with headlines of “Chisora fails to perform” as opposed to “Pulev outclasses Chisora”, Pulev hasn’t been one to avoid fights for the duration of his career and as a former European champion the Bulgarian has produced convincing wins on the big stage for a long, long time with the likes of Alexander Dimitrenko, Alexander Ustinov and Tony Thompson all falling foul of The Cobra’s leathal bite.
A former world title challenger Pulev has the experience of that level and whilst he’s not looked as sharp as his previous years, since his loss to Klitschko (in 2014) he has looked mentally more prepared whenever he steps in the ring – albeit against lesser opposition – and many were expecting him to provide Anthony Joshua with a stern test when they were scheduled to face-off and with Pulev back in the world title scene, there could still be life in the ageing cobra yet.
Tyson Fury – Lineal heavyweight champion of the world
This isn’t wrote in any order so before anyone gets in a huff as to my positioning of Fury in this list – or indeed my inclusion of him at all – let me explain why the lineal champion is in this “elite” overview;
Whatever you think of his last opponent – Sefer Seferi – Tyson Fury was the man who beat the man and, in doing so, made Klitschko look average and that is an achievement that simply cannot be overstated, it was beyond unexpected and Fury produced the goods.
Further to that his mental strength is, for me, the best of anyone in the division. He has had several well documented struggles and, let’s be clear, earned more than enough money for him to afford to retire and live comfortably for the rest of his life. So there was no need for Fury to comeback, he had proved his doubters wrong, but it was his inner motivation to prove that he was better than Joshua, better than Wilder, better than everyone that pushed him to return and lose 8stone in the process. That’s super-human.
Fury himself is unconventional in fighting style with the ability to switch stances with ease combined with his freakish height and surprisingly lucid movement marking him out as one of the most unpredictable men in the ring – one second he’ll be staring out into the crowd and the next launching a furious flurry into the body of his opponent.
And that is what marks him out from the other guys on this list because whilst they are all exceptional fighters in their own right, they are distinctly predictable – you know what you’re getting with each of them – but with Fury you get the impression that not even he knows. He’s no stranger to being an underdog, either, and dealing with the pressure of fighting in the away corner so his ability to handle those situations are incredible.
Fighting Francesco Pianeta on August 18th, Fury is targeting two further fights by the end of 2018 before mounting a serious challenge to the belts he used to own and with discussions already being held about the potential for a fight with Deontay Wilder, you’d be inclined to suggest it’s only a matter of time before he’s back where he belongs.
AND THERE WE HAVE IT, a look at the heavyweight elite boxers and of course the use of the term elite is entirely subjective, it’s merely my top 5 and there are plenty of guys that could have warranted being featured but, hey, nobody said it was easy!
Dillian Whyte Withstands a Final Minute Storm to Solidify #1 Status
By: Ste Rowen
Dillian Whyte overcame a last-minute onslaught from Joseph Parker to win a unanimous 12-round decision and stamp down his status as the number one heavyweight challenger.
Now 24-1 (17KOs), Whyte was by far and away the more active of the two fighters. The former British champion was walking down the New Zealander for the majority of the fight. In the 2nd round the two heavyweights appeared to awkwardly clash heads, which forced Parker into losing his balance and hitting the canvas. The referee scored it a knockdown for Whyte, and whether it dented Joseph’s morale or really did affect him physically, the knockdown set the tone for the majority of the fight. Dillian piled on the pressure, and Parker appeared to be waiting for his arms to do something of their own accord.
The former WBO champ fired off a wayward combination here and there but the O2 arena crowd were not getting the performance they expected from the 24-1 (18KOs) fighter. Into the 9th and the ‘Body Snatcher’, Whyte, landed a brutal left hook, which sent Parker sprawling to the floor.
This time there was no doubt about it being a knockdown.
That 10-8 round appeared to make it conclusive in favour of Dillian. The question now seemed to be whether the Brixton fighter would push on for the stoppage or settle for a points win.
Joseph had other things in mind as a rally from him rattled Whyte in the penultimate round. Then in the 12th, Parker dropped the home fighter with a right hand, but it was just too little, too late. Whyte was in trouble, but he held on until the final bell, and both boxers looked as if they knew the result straight away.
The final scorecards were 113-111, 115-110, 114-111, all in favour of Whyte.
‘‘It was a good fight.’’ Said Dillian later. ‘‘Parker’s slick. We knew he was gonna cheat his way through and fight in the last couple of rounds. I’m just annoyed I messed up at the final hurdle… I got rocked, I took a knee. The referee started at 4, I thought he started at 2, he went ‘4’, I was like ‘s***’, I didn’t have time to get up, but I got up so I’m learning.’’
Parker was buoyant in defeat,
‘‘I got 12 rounds to fight, I gave it my best, the other man won but I’m always gonna come back stronger…This is just the beginning.’’
So, what’s next for arguably, the best heavyweight outside of the world title holders,
‘‘I’d like to fight Joshua again in the rematch but there’s still a lot of things to work on, but if he wants it he can have it. I’m the ‘Can-Man’…I might get out again in October, September. I don’t wanna wait that long (Until Joshua’s already scheduled April 2019 date). I’m still inexperienced, I still make a lot of mistakes. So, one more fight between then would be great.’’
Dereck Chisora vs. Carlos Takam
‘‘This was very tough.’’ The words of Dereck Chisora, now 29-8 (21KOs) after his come from behind, 8th round KO-victory over Carlos Takam.
The two African-born fighters went at it from the 1st minute, but it was the Cameroonian-born boxer in Takam, that established the upper hand in the early rounds. Chisora seemed to be stuck to the ropes the first 3 minutes as Carlos landed huge hooks that looked as if he was setting up an early finish.
Dereck survived though, and even strangely refused to sit down in between rounds when told to by trainer, Don Charles. But the former world title challenger continued to take heavy, accumulative punches. Then came the 8th round however, and despite continuing to be the dominant fighter, Takam, 35-4-1 (27KOs) heading into tonight, received a massive overhand right to the temple from the Brit. He was floored, got up and then took an almost identical second right hand which sent him back down and forced the referee into calling an end to the bout. Dereck Chisora is now the WBA ‘International’ heavyweight champion and officially, back in the mix.
‘‘I realised I couldn’t trade with him toe-to-toe. I knew the overhand right was gonna catch him but I could not chuck it in the early rounds cos I knew I’d be left open. So, on that round (Round 8) something in my mind just said ‘You know what? It’s time to send it home. ’’
‘‘I bet you any money I win fight of the year with this fight.’’
‘‘It’s up to these fans who they wanna see me fight. I’ll say names, but I know really and truly they come out and go the other way round. They don’t wanna fight me. I’m 34 but I feel 21 right now.’’
Nick Webb vs. David Allen
Dave Allen, now 14-4-2 (11KOs), surprised everyone with a 4th round, one-punch KO of the previously unbeaten, Nick Webb.
Webb was dominating the bout, even through to round 4, but Allen timed a devastating right hand to send Nick flying through the ropes and springboard Allen, who just a few weeks ago was contemplating retirement, into Lonsdale belt contention.
Dillian Whyte vs. Joseph Parker Preview
On Saturday night, London’s O2 arena will once again hold host to a Dillian Whyte headline bout as the WBC’s number 1 challenger takes on former WBO heavyweight champion, Joseph Parker for the status of, ‘Best of the Rest’ and a future shot at the true heavyweight honours.
Whyte, 23-1 (17KOs) is fighting at the O2 for the 5th time in his career and the 3rd time as one half of the headline fight. Last time out, Dillian took just 6 rounds to KO the previously unbeaten, Lucas Browne of Australia in impressive fashion. Dominating from the first bell, Whyte seemed to know within the first few minutes that Browne had come to survive. The ‘Body Snatcher’ held his punches a lot better than in previous bouts and, in stark contrast to his awkward encounter with Robert Helenius in 2017, the Jamaican-born heavyweight timed his attacks well, and didn’t throw desperately, when Browne occasionally avoided his assaults. It all culminated in an evil left hook, arguably the best punch Whyte has thrown in his pro career, landing on the Australian’s wide-open chin, sending him face down and conclusively ending the fight.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
That March matchup came a week before Parker took on Joshua at the Principality stadium in Cardiff, and winning that bout appeared to put Whyte to the front of the heavyweight line waiting for a shot at the belts. Saturday’s fight won’t be for world championship honours, but Dillian, speaking to ‘Give Me Sport’ recognises how close he is to the shot he’s been working for, for so long,
‘‘Anyone that’s successful in life, whoever and wherever they are, have had to take a lot of risks and chances…That’s why I signed with Matchroom. That was a risk because I knew they had Joshua, and Joshua’s the golden boy.’’
And the challenge of facing the former WBO champion,
‘‘I’ve fought everyone that’s been asked of me to fight. I feel good…If he (Parker) didn’t come to fight against Joshua, the biggest fight of his career, what’s he going to change now? He could have come back and had an easier fight, but he didn’t. I respect him for that.’’
‘‘Who knows. They might surprise us, and he might come out and go for it in the first couple of rounds…I don’t expect Parker to try and come and mix it with me in the centre of the ring, because if he does that, he gets dropped early.’’
Saturday’s bout will mark Parker’s return to the ring since losing a 12-round decision to Anthony Joshua; a loss that took his ‘0’ and his WBO world strap.
‘‘The body’s looking better than last fight,’’ Said the Samoan-born boxer, speaking to ‘RadioSport’ in New Zealand. ‘‘It’s stronger than last fight. I feel I do need a stoppage. There might be a bit of favouritism here for the local fighter. We’ve given our thoughts on the officials.’’
‘‘When you have two fighters like myself and Dillian Whyte going at it I think it probably won’t reach the 12th round…His fight plan is just to stand there and throw bombs and he wants me to get sucked in to his plan.’’
‘‘I think this is a must win. The winner of this fight elevates to the top for a world title fight with Joshua, maybe Wilder and then all of these fights with Tyson Fury and the big names.’’
This will be Parker’s, 24-1 (18KOs), 3rd fight in a row in England, after also defending his belt in a drab of a scrap against Hughie Fury last September, in which the New Zealander won via a split decision. The talk is big from Joseph in the build up to the weekend’s main event, but he’s struggled to really impress since his 3-round KO of Alexander Dimitrenko back in late 2016.
As has been mentioned multiple times about this matchup, the winner should maneuverer there way into a world title fight next. The WBC ‘Silver’ and WBO ‘International’ straps aren’t just there for decoration alone. They might be meaningless when they’re wrapped around the winner for post-fight photos, but the belts signify an elevated status in the rankings and if the victor’s follow up bout to Saturday night isn’t a world championship bout, they’ll have a pretty big target on their back with the best of the rest of the division ready to shoot.
Dillian Whyte vs. Joseph Parker Announced for July 28th
By: Oliver McManus
LAST NIGHT we were made aware of a press conference for Dillian Whyte and an unnamed opponent – clearly, then, the Kubrat Pulev fight would not materialise. Dan Rafael from ESPN reported it was Luis Ortiz who would step in and go to war with The Body Snatcher.
Then rumours swirled about Joseph Parker – who had previously signed to fight Bryant Jennings – but David Higgins, Parker’s promoter, refuted these claims as “just hot air”. The rumour seemed to subside but if we’ve learnt anything from Higgins it’s that he’s a crafty old fox.
Photo Credit: Dillian Whyte Twitter Account
Come the announcement this morning at about 09.15 UK time – unseasonably early – we got the big fight; Dillian Whyte vs Joseph Parker, CONFIRMED, for July 28th at the O2 Arena.
The Pulev fight was an IBF eliminator, the Ortiz fight an eliminator for the WBC and whilst this bout holds no official status it is, arguably, Whyte’s best chance to look elite. Let’s not forget, how could we, that Parker was the first man to ever stretch the imperious, impenetrable Anthony Joshua to a full 12 rounds.
Whyte, no doubt, will be looking to better Joshua’s performance by dispatching with his Kiwi opponent in double-quick time and, in doing so, really staking a claim that “hey, look at me now”. Forget 2015, forget that first fight with AJ, Whyte will be wanting to force Anthony into taking notice of him with a performance to make the world stand up.
Parker, on the other hand, will see this as his chance of redemption and a simple route back to the top of the heavyweight scene – Jennings would have been an easier payday, a smaller payday mind, with less reward for the former WBO titlist but a win over Whyte unlocks a whole plethora of things not least the coveted ranking positions.
If Parker comes over in the same polite, respectful manner as he did against Joshua and managers to defy the expectations in beating Dillian Whyte then he establishes a fan-base in Britain and the potential for even bigger money fights.
Eddie Hearn has gone on record as saying he wants to build a “huge card” for this date in order to justify the Box Office, PPV, status but make no mistake this fight alone is worthy enough such an occasion;
Joseph Parker and Dillian Whyte are, arguably, the two best non-title holders in heavyweight boxing and, so, to see the pair square off when both had other options, is something to look forward to because there will be no lack of aggression in the ring – this will be a proper fight where both men take shots in order to enact their game-plan.
Pulev would have been a, relatively, boring fight with Whyte trying to entice Pulev out of his defensive shell and who knows what Deontay Wilder took out of the aging Luis Ortiz?
THIS IS A FIGHT.
Add to that Kell Brook on the undercard, expected anyway, alongside Daniyar Yeleussinov and you get a night of action that you simply cannot miss.
Love him or loath him, there’s no denying that Eddie Hearn keeps on pulling out fight after fight.
HBO Boxing After Dark Results: Dillian Whyte Stops Lucas Browne
By: Ste Rowen
Dillian ‘The Body Snatcher’ Whyte sent a cold message to the rest of the heavyweight scene with a savage one punch knockout of unbeaten Australian, Lucas Browne at London’s O2 Arena.
It was a tentative start from the first bell even as Browne developed a cut late in the round on his left eye. Whyte took over from thereafter though with the cleaner, more precise punching. Browne seemed to be without a game plan, plodding forwards without any obvious intent and no sign of the power he promised to bring pre-fight.
Into the 5th round Whyte was firmly on top, working behind the jab to pick at the cut on Browne’s eye and by now, his busted nose. Then in the 6th round, Whyte fired off a brutal left hook which sent Browne, face first onto the canvas.
Without little hesitation the referee waved it off and Whyte’s celebration became slightly muted as the medics rushed into the ring.
Thankfully, Browne got to his feet and the attention could turn back once again to the victor, in Dillian Whyte, now 23-1 (17KOs) and his future.
‘Hopefully Lucas Browne’s okay,’ said Whyte, ‘I’m a good fighter but no one has seen it yet. I might not have 22 knockouts but I can crack…When they stand up in front of me it’s a different story.’
‘I wanna bring pain, my left hook is back. When I landed I walked away straight away ‘cause I knew that was that.’
The WBC silver champion will now turn his attention firmly to the current titlists, either WBC champion Deontay Wilder or the winner of next week’s unification showdown between WBA & IBF champ, Anthony Joshua and WBO holder, Joseph Parker in Cardiff.
‘Deontay Wilder where you at? June? Where you at Wilder let’s go! No more excuses! I’m number one baby let’s go! People are tired of Deontay Wilder fighting these halfway guys.’
On a potential rematch with Joshua,
‘Joshua want it? I don’t care. I wanna fight Joshua another 3, 4 times in my career.’
On the undercard…
Commonwealth light heavyweight champion Callum ‘The One’ Johnson scored the biggest surprise of the night when he stopped British champion, Frank Buglioni in the 1st round. Johnson, 17-0 (12KOs), coming off an 18-month injury layoff, came out firing and once one landed, Buglioni couldn’t do enough to keep the challenger for the Lonsdale belt off him. Callum had already knocked Buglioni down once before he sent his foe sprawling backwards again on unsure legs and the referee called an end to the fight just before, Buglioni’s trainer, Don Charles threw in the towel. The win blows the British light heavyweight scene wide open now with most of the talk before tonight’s bout being about who Frank face next; Now it’s all about where Callum goes from here with the likes of Anthony Yarde, Bob Ajisafe and even fellow gym mate, Hosea Burton pining for a chance at the British.
With the British lightweight belt on the line, Lewis ‘Sandman’ Ritson faced off against the former British champion, Scott Cardle in the ‘Sandman’s’ second defence. After an impressive all-action 1st round from the challenger, Ritson proved the more ruthless and efficient of the two men. Taking a more composed approach to the 2nd; working behind a strong jab, the champion landed a heavy left hook that left Cardle staggering backwards into the ropes forcing the referee to give Scott an 8-count. Ritson then put his foot down, landing power shot after power shot until Cardle’s corner threw in the towel.
In one of the earliest fights of the night, Dereck Chisora, now 28-8 (20KOs) knocked out Frenchman, Zakaria Azzouzi in the 2nd round of a woeful matchup. Fans were hopeful that Dereck would now move onto to a bout with David Haye protégé, Joe Joyce, on the HayeBellew2 undercard, although post-fight when Haye offered the fight once again to Chisora, Dereck laid out his terms,
‘If he (Joe Joyce) beats me you write me a cheque of £1. If I beat him, you give me your purse against Tony (Bellew) and your tv rights.’
To which Haye simply replied, ‘No.’
Highly rated welterweight prospect, Chris Kongo endured 6 difficult rounds with Serge Ambomo to move to 8-0 (6KOs) after picking up 60-55 victory. Ambomo, now 6-6 (2KOs) is, as Carl Froch put it in commentary, part of the ‘Who needs ‘em club?’ and although it wasn’t pretty, Kongo will have learnt a great deal, along the way to picking up another win.
And finally, Anthony Fowler scored a very dubious 5th round stoppage of unbeaten Frenchman, Kalilou Dembele to move to 5-0 (4KOs). Dembele was down in the 2nd and then again in the 5th but seemed perfectly capable of carrying on before referee, Bob Williams waved it off, despite protests from Kalilou. Fowler will be out again next month on the Khan vs Lo Greco card in Liverpool against an unnamed opponent.
HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Dillian Whyte vs. Lucas Browne
By: Ste Rowen
Following the madness of Wilder vs Ortiz in New York, and the anticipation of the upcoming Joshua vs Parker unification bout, you may be forgiven for forgetting about a potential barn stormer in between, in the form of Dillian Whyte v Lucas Browne. The two face-off this weekend at London’s O2 arena in a fight that should set the winner up for a world title shot.
Last time out, the two heavyweight contenders had very different match-ups.
The WBC number one contender, Dillian Whyte, 22-1 (16KOs) took on Robert Helenius for the ‘not-so-coveted’ WBC silver title on the undercard of Joshua v Takam. For 12 labouring rounds, Dillian went in search of his opponent as the Swede evaded Whyte’s attack, but never replied with his own offense. The Brit’s accuracy was substandard that night, and way below the standard he set for himself in his fight of the year contender vs Dereck Chisora just less than a year earlier.
Just like the Chisora fight, October’s clash with Helenius went to the scorecards and though it saw Whyte pick up a comprehensive unanimous decision victory, it was a performance that did very little to help him entice new fans. However, a lack lustre performance has done nothing to deter Whyte’s belief in himself, or his eagerness to knockout his Australian foe,
‘I can’t wait, I hate Lucas Browne and I want to hurt him. He’s said some nasty things and he’s going to have to pay for them.’
‘If I don’t knock him out I will not be happy…Beating him should make me a mandatory challenger. I’m highly ranked across the board. I’ll be a more than credible world title challenger.’
In stark contrast, Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne’s last fight was his return fight from a number of disputed failed drug tests that followed his come from behind 2016 victory over Ruslan Chagaev in Chechnya, for the WBA ‘Regular’ belt.
Browne, 25-0 (22KOs) knocked out no-hoper, Matt Greer in the second round at the Punchbowl social club, Sydney, a world away from Saturday’s night venue. The fight told us very little about where Browne is at since his impressive victory over Chagaev 14 months earlier. That bout saw Browne knocked down and cut before steamrolling through the Uzbek in the 10th with continuous right hooks.
That should’ve been the break out fight that setup potential showdowns with the likes of Wilder, Joshua, or even the not yet retired Wladimir Klitschko, but instead Brown returned two positive tests for clenbuterol and then eight months later, a positive sample for ostarine, for which Browne has tried to explain was from a pre-workout he took without checking the contents.
The 38-year-old is now ready to put the past few years behind him and get back on track for a world title shot,’
‘It’s a very silly fight for him. Being number one ranked, to take on someone like me who is a big puncher, I think it’s a very silly fight, but for me it’s perfect. He’s got rankings across the board as well, not just the WBC so I’m extremely happy for this fight.’
Browne isn’t the only one with a questionable record when it comes to drugs. Whyte was suspended for two years back in 2012 when he tested positive for a banned stimulant. Like Browne, Dillian claimed it was due to a supplement he took without properly checking the ingredients.
Concentrating on the two fighter’s actual boxing skills though, this has the potential to be a very gruelling but ugly fight. Neither fights with much concern for defence or seems to bothered about wasting shots, which seems strange for Browne who does have a tendency to cut easily, a weakness Whyte will jump on if the Australian does sustain a meaningful cut early on.
Whyte of course has been knocked out, his sole defeat coming at the hands of WBA & IBF champion Anthony Joshua back in 2015 for the British title, and in his two biggest fights since, Whyte has had to come through adversity against Chisora and briefly in the Helenius fight when he was shaken by a left hook. So, if Browne’s power is legit, he should be able to significantly test Whyte’s chin more than once through 12 rounds of action.
For the winner, a world title shot should be next. For the loser, heavyweight obscurity could await. Proving there’s a lot more than rivalry on the line on Saturday.
On the undercard…
Just a month on from his devastating first round stoppage of Joe Murray, Lewis Ritson, 14-0 (8KOs) returns to the ring for his second defence of his British lightweight belt against Scott Cardle, 22-1 (7KOs). Ritson’s currently on a five fight KO streak, and though heavily favoured against Cardle, it will be a real statement from the Newcastle native if he can score another stoppage victory.
Frank Buglioni, 21-2-1 (15KOs) will defend his British light heavyweight title for the third time against mandatory challenger, Callum Johnson. With the likes of Anthony Yarde, Hosea Burton and Bob Ajisafe waiting in the wings for a shot at the British, Johnson, 16-0 (11KOs) will be hoping to end the constant talk of potential future fights for Buglioni.
The aforementioned Dereck Chisora, 27-8 (19KOs) is also a late addition to the card in what is expected to be a stay busy 8-rounder, since his majority decision loss to European champion, Agit Kabayel in Monaco last November.
Dillian Whyte: From Kickboxer to Boxing Novice to World Champion?
By: Jacob Tanswell
As it stands, Dillian Whyte is a massive player in the heavyweight picture. From a kickboxing background, with next to nothing ameteur pedigree, Dillian Whyte is on the unlikely verge of a world title challenge and a chance to catapult himself into British Boxing stardom.
Last saturday, on US network “Showtime” the WBC champion Deontay Wilder was interviewed after his sensational first round KO of Bermaine Stiverne. Before the inevitable “when are you gonna fight Joshua” question was asked, Jim Gray brought up the subject of fighting Dillian Whyte to Wilder. That, in itself, highlights how far the Brixton based fighter has come. From boxing obscurity, Dillian Whyte is now considered a tough test for anyone whether it’s from these shores or across the pond.
Unlike many champions, Whyte was never touted to be the next great heavyweight hope. Instead, that label was planted on others, with far more ametuer pedigree, such as David Price. Initially, with little recognition, Whyte began his professional career boxing on small hall shows, trying to earn himself a living, in order to provide for his children, at which he had at very young. Whilst all the hype was focussed on others, Whyte kept battling away, trying to get himself in the frame to earn himself a shot at the British Title.
After many trials and tribulations, including a drug ban, in 2015 Dillian Whyte was suddenly elevated into the big time, preparing to renew his rivalry with the country’s national treasure, Anthony Joshua and play the villain. Since fighting against one another in 2009, as fresh inexperienced amateurs, the pair built up a deep hatred for one another. Over the course of 6 years, that bad feeling between both never went away and was quietly simmering in the background. This was until, as professionals, they went head to head again, competing for the belt Whyte so badly craved, the famous Lonsdale Belt; along with the underlying jealousy that Joshua had been giving more respect and admiration from the public than himself, Whyte realised he had to seize this chance in order for him to fulfill his goals in this massive box office domestic showdown.
However, after a brave, valiant effort, Whyte was beaten.But he had given the heavy favourite his toughest test to date and his stock instantly grew. Since the fight, Whyte has received backing from Eddie Hearn and the Sky platform which has increased exposure and gave him the necessary fights to increase his profile. As we speak, he is arguably one of the most well known boxers in the UK and is on the cusp of securing a multi million pound deal to fight for a version of the heavyweight title, through the dealings of Hearn to secure a mega fight at the O2 on February the 3rd, which has already been pencilled in.
Through the combination of his rivalry with Joshua,his deeply extroverted personality and his underlying “street fighter” mentality, the Jamaican born heavyweight has thrusted himself into the elite, and is willing to fight anyone. The man who came from nothing is now in the big time. How far can this underdog story go? Contender? World Champion? Who knows, but one thing is for sure, Dillian Whyte will give himself the opportunity to achieve that.
Joshua vs. Takam – The Undercard
By: Ste Rowen
Despite the late change of opponent, the biggest draw on Saturday night remains the main event, with Anthony Joshua taking on Carlos Takam for the WBA, IBF and IBO Heavyweight World title belts. However, hidden gems may lie in the undercard.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
Yafai v Ishida
Chief support to Joshua’s bout sees WBA Super Flyweight Champion Khalid Yafai take on Sho Ishida in his second title defence. Kal (22-0-0 14KOs) won the vacant WBA belt back in December 2016 from Luis Concepcion, who’d come in over the limit in two attempts at the scales, meaning the only Yafai could win the belt. Then in May this year Kal got his first defence in the bank when he dominated Suguru Muranaka. Yafai was mightily impressive in both bouts, scoring legitimately wide scorecards. He’ll be hoping that this is the stepping stone fight to being included on HBO’s ‘SuperFly 2’ in early 2018. His opponent Sho Ishida’s record is good on paper, 24-0-0 (13KOs) however that does include six debutants including his last two bouts in which Ishida stopped first timers Patiphon Saithonggym and Phetnamnung Sisaketphattana in rounds three and two respectively. This will also be Sho’s first fight outside of Japan, he’ll be hoping to upset the Brit’s party and join his countryman, Naoyo Inoue at the top table of the Superfly division.
Whyte v Helenius
Dillian Whyte (21-1-0 16KOs) is looking to turn up the heat on the current Heavyweight belt holders when he goes up against Robert Helenius. In his most recent outing Whyte made quick work of Malcolm Tann on the undercard of Crawford v Indongo in Nebraska. Though sloppy at times, he made sure his keep-busy fight didn’t last long, dropping Tann for a third time with a body shot in the third round. A stark contrast from his split decision win previous to that, when he fought in a Fight of the Year contender, going all twelve in a heavyweight war against Dereck Chisora. His opponent, Robert Helenius (25-1-0 16KOs) was once the man to beat in the European Heavyweight scene. A sparring partner of Anthony Joshua’s leading up to the Klitschko fight, Helenius was racking up victories including a controversial decision over Chisora in 2011 and knocking out an unbeaten Gregory Tony in 2010. His steady rise took a big hit in 2016 though when he was knocked clean out by a big 1-2 from Johann Duhaupas. He’s on a three-fight win streak and will be looking to take Whyte’s status as a number one contender for the belts.
Sanchez v Taylor
Katie Taylor (6-0-0 4KOs) fights for her first world title in just her seventh fight when she takes on Anahi Esther Sanchez for the WBA Lightweight belt. It will be Taylor’s second schedule ten round fight, in her second stadium fight, and the omens are good because in that ten-rounder at Wembley Stadium last April, Taylor continued to show her class when she dispatched of unbeaten Nina Meinke in the seventh. In her one fight since, the Irishwoman beat up Jasmine Clarkson for three rounds before the American’s cornerman pulled her out. Anahi Esther Sanchez, as expected should represent Taylor’s biggest challenge yet. Sanchez (17-2-0 9KOs) has previously held a world title when she won the IBF Super Featherweight belt in March 2016. She’s also fought and lost twice in world title fights. Once in December 2016 via a unanimous decision to Nina Wahlstrom for the WBC Super Feather title and again in May this year, when she was given two standing counts and eventually stopped in the fourth for her old IBF title. She bounced back quickly, and in her second fight at the 135lb limit, stopped Cecilia Sofia Mena for the WBA belt, that will be on the line this Saturday.
Cult hero Dave ‘White Rhino’ Allen (12-3-1 9KOs) was looking to exact revenge on Commonwealth Champion, Lenroy Thomas when the two were set to meet for the second time on Saturday night for an immediate rematch of their May 2017 split decision. However, the Jamaican has pulled out due to a virus. Allen is expected to remain on the undercard in a six round keep busy fight before going again for the British and Commonwealth belts.
Buglioni v Richards
Another late change to Saturday’s card sees British Light Heavyweight Champion, Frank ‘Wise Guy’ Buglioni take on Craig ‘Spider’ Richards. Buglioni (20-2-1 15KOs) was due to fight Callum Johnson in a mandated bout but Johnson withdrew last week, leaving the door open for Craig Richards (9-0-0 3KOs), who has been campaigning mainly at Super Middleweight up to this point.
Three of Matchroom’s 2016 Olympic signings will also be on the card. Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie (5-0-0 4KOs), taken the distance for the first time in his last fight with Blaise Mendouo. Super Featherweight and Welshman Joe Cordina (4-0-0 4KOs) fighting in Wales for the first time in his pro career. And Light Heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (2-0-0 2KOs) a bronze medallist in Rio, and arguably Britain’s most highly thought of from the class of 2016.
Wilder v Whyte: A First Assessment
Wilder v Whyte: A First Assessment
By: Ben Sutherland
In a recent interview with IFL, Eddie Hearn expressed his desire to get his man Dilian Whyte a shot at Deontay Wilder’s WBC title. The Londoner, who rose to prominence through his scrap with Joshua back in 2015, has been hovering below the world level for some time. Whyte’s clash with Dereck Chisora at the end of last year cemented him as a household name in the UK. His aggressive manner inside and outside of the ring have given him the role of the villain amongst the British public, something which he seems to be relishing.
His profile combined with Hearn’s backing means the fight can produce the type of revenue sufficient enough to entice a big name like Wilder over to the UK. If Wilder is trying to build toward a Joshua fight, Whyte is a great stepping stone, he’s objectively easier work and provides a nice potential pay day. Wilder publicly rejected Hearn’s first advances but, in a hypothetical world where the two men clashed, could Whyte actually win?
The 6ft 7 undefeated American is one of the toughest fights out there. He is aggressive, athletic, and above all else carries serious power, having stopped a staggering 37 of his 38 opponents before the final bell. His technical ability has at times, left a lot to be desired, often throwing wild and unwieldy punches more reminiscent of the UFC than a world class boxer. Up to this point, the quality of his opponents has been such that he has been able to get away with his technical holes. Through sheer power and athleticism he has blasted his opponents out of there. This is perhaps the biggest criticism one could make of Wilder thus far: his record lacks a credible name worthy of his world champion status.
Should he come up against a man with a good chin, who is experienced at the level and technically sound, there are questions which are currently unanswered.
Whyte is best known as the man who rocked Anthony Joshua. At the time, he took him far further than anyone else had. In what is a relatively rare occurrence in boxing, Whyte walked away from the defeat with a better reputation and profile than before. This reputation was bolstered when it was revealed that Whyte had been crippled by a shoulder injury in the build-up. This led to speculation that his power could improve following a surgery to repair his injury. However, since that fight he has struggled. He has four more wins on his record but they were far from impressive. First, he beat Iva Bacurin, a no name Croatian with 12 losses on his record. He then fought an out of shape Dave Allen who took him the distance. He then fought Ian Lewison, who was in even poorer condition. Lewison retired on his stool in the 11th but it was hardly an impressive win. Then he had a massive domestic showdown with fellow Londoner, Dereck Chisora. In a fight which captured the attention of the public through its fiery build up, Whyte won a controversial split decision. The power he showed against Joshua has subsequently been missing. One might theorize after the Klitscko fight that Joshua’s chin is more suspect than we think and perhaps Whyte’s power isn’t what we previously thought.
Meanwhile, Wilder has struggled to find quality opponents in years. Bermane Stiverne, the man from whom he won his WBC title, is probably the best name on his record. Malik Scott, Eric Molina, Arreola and most recently Washington are all decent heavyweights but far from elite fighters and as a result he remains untested at the highest level. One could postulate that this is because he is avoiding the big names as he doesn’t want to risk losing his belt before his big payday against Joshua. His recent social media posts rejecting the fight with Whyte provide us with possible evidence of this.
Wilder had a relatively brief amateur career in which he rose through the ranks quickly. He has a good number of professional fights but good pro fights don’t necessarily prepare you for elite pro fights. It isn’t especially surprising that Stiverne who has been his only remotely world class test to date, took him the distance. He is raw, he is erratic and there are holes in his game that a technical boxer with a good chin can find. However, he is exceptionally talented, athletic and powerful and there is nothing to indicate he can’t be a world beater, he just hasn’t got the record to confirm it.
Mike Tyson said of the Alabamian champ, “Let’s see what happens when he gets hit back”, Dilian Whyte would most certainly hit him back. Whyte is a sound technician, but he is more than happy to stand and trade. Having gone toe to toe with Joshua, he certainly won’t be intimidated by Wilder. He is smaller but he is a real handful. If Wilder truly thought he was light work then the contract with a $3 million purse attached would already be signed.
Wilder has been in trouble away from the ring having been arrested for domestic assault in 2013 and again recently, charged with possession of marijuana. Whyte, who has a track record of inciting incidents in build ups to fights could no doubt get under Wilder’s skin, potentially impacting his performance in the ring.
Based on what we know about the two men thus far, either is capable of winning this fight. If Whyte takes him to the trenches like he has done in his other big name fights, this has the potential to be a real barn burner. For my money, Wilder’s power wins out over Whyte’s in that set of circumstances. However, if Whyte fights off the jab and boxes in a technically proficient manner, his chin is good enough that he could take Wilder into unchartered territory.
On balance, Wilder is bigger and more explosive with a spotless track record and as a result he is the favorite. But, the man from south London isn’t going down without a fight and questions about Wilder’s experience level mean his victory is by no means guaranteed.