Boxing Only

Dillian Whyte :: Ortiz or Povetkin

Posted: 06-04-2019
Author: Andy Farr

When it appeared that No 1 WBC heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte was serious about fighting another top tier guy in Luis "King Kong" Ortiz or former champion Alexander Povetkin while he waited for his chance to challenge WBC champ, Deontay Wilder, my respect for the Brixton native rose.

Whyte had, after all, faced Robert Helenius, Lucas Browne, Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora in consecutive fights. The Helenius fight was not the greatest fight to watch but still represented a step up to world-level. The other 3 bouts all had their excitement value. Dillian Whyte fights are usually pretty good viewing.

So, when news broke that Matchroom was serious about matching him tough against Ortiz or Povetkin instead of just sitting and waiting for the WBC to force Wilder into a mandatory defence, it seemed to confirm the notion that they (Matchroom), and Whyte himself had the self-belief to take on and beat the best.

Dillian Whyte vs Joseph Parker poster
Dillian Whyte's close win over former WBO champion Joseph Parker proved that he deserved a place at the top table.

Whyte was badly knocked out by Anthony Joshua when the 2 met in a domestic clash in 2015. There was clearly real animosity between the two and the fight was eagerly awaited by British fans. The fight was exciting to watch, Whyte rocked Joshua in the 2nd round but it was the Watford man that had the better technique and poise of the two.

Whyte's well-documented shoulder surgery after the Joshua bout could be used as a reason for the loss, but Whyte did not use it as an excuse, probably recalling the criticism David Haye received for the "Toegate" saga, when he showed the media his heavily bruised toe and used it as an excuse for his title loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2011.

Whyte came back well with solid if not spectacular matchmaking, picking up the British title along the way. But, after a straight forward win in America over Malcolm Tann, Matchroom let him off the leash and now resides as Wilder's top-ranked contender.

What most promoters do at this stage is to give their charge some safe, mark time fights until a title challenge can be made, but Whyte needs to force the WBC into making Wilder defend against him and that will not happen if he fights 2nd tier heavyweights.

Dillian Whyte vs Lucas Browne poster
Dillian Whyte scored a spectacular knockout victory over former WBA regular champion Lucas Browne in March 2018.

With Oleksandr Usyk making his heavyweight debut on the 25th May, it seems likely that in the event that Joshua fails to finally meet Wilder or Lineal champion, Tyson Fury, he will have a ready-made challenger in Usyk. It is therefore logical for Whyte to pursue Wilder for his title shot.

The news that Whyte has been talking about a challenge to regular WBA champion Manuel Charr is deeply disappointing, Charr, although a so-called world heavyweight champion is not a suitable opponent to help Whyte force is a crack at Wilder's title.

It feels like deja vu every time Matchroom or Whyte mention Ortiz and Povetkin. It seems like they do so and then pursue anyone else.

Matchroom recently mentioned Povetkin as the preferred opponent for Usyk's bow at heavyweight then quickly signed the much safer Carlos Takem. Same manoeuvre just a different day.

The win over Parker proved a lot. Whyte is capable of defeating a good, young former champ, so why keep avoiding the other top contenders?

Money, I know.