Dillian Whyte has done all that has been asked of him. Currently ranked number one with the WBC and WBO, the British heavyweight appears to be running out of patience with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom, as he pushes for a world title shot in 2019.
2018 was a stand-out year for the Brixton-based fighter. Wins against Lucas Browne, Joseph Parker and Dereck Chisora emphasised Whyte’s standings in the land of the giants, with the latter two doing good numbers on pay-per-view in the UK; the tide is turning, with Whyte receiving a lot of support from the British public.
The self-proclaimed “Can Man” has stated time and time again that he wants the biggest fights and is prepared to step up to any challenge. The complications with a skipped trip to Bulgaria to fight Pulev aside, Whyte has passed acid test after acid test. Two showreel knockouts against Browne and Chisora underlined his devastating left hook, with the same shot dropping Joseph Parker for the first time in his career in a fight that elevated Whyte to the next level.
With Joshua-Wilder talks clearly making no headway, the spot on the April 13 card at Wembley Stadium is wide open for Whyte to challenge his old foe Anthony Joshua for three of the four heavyweight titles. Joshua took Whyte’s unbeaten record in December of 2015, but with nine wins since, Whyte has developed as a fighter under Mark Tibbs.
It’s an easy fight to make, however, for Whyte it’s about knowing his worth, and receiving it. With Matchroom offering Whyte a “low-ball” offer for this fight last week, Whyte has come back fighting, being seen in Las Vegas this week amidst rumours of meetings with PBC about a possible jump from Eddie Hearn’s ship.
Speaking to TalkSport, Whyte discussed the offer made to him by Hearn: “There’s been a first offer but it is utterly ridiculous. It’s way less than what I made against Chisora basically. … They’re not serious about the fight, I don’t think they want the fight, I think they just made an offer to cover ground.”
Signing with Al Haymon would unlock the door to the US market for Whyte, but under Hearn and DAZN that option is already there. Whyte’s frustration is obvious. The closer he gets to a shot at world honours, the further away he seems to be pushed, with recent rumours of a fight against Wladimir Klitschko gathering pace despite the Ukranian’s dismissal on Twitter.
In essence, this fight could be big enough to take the Wembley April 13 date, allowing Joshua to sweep aside Big Baby Miller in the States; it’s unclear whether Whyte would settle for an occasion of this magnitude putting at risk the mandatory positions he has earned.
Speaking to Behind the Gloves, Whyte alluded to the Klitschko return, stating that conversations have already taken place:
“Klitschko is definitely coming back. We offered him the fight, and he said he needed two tune-up fights first before he fights the likes of me, which is a massive compliment because he’s a former unified world champion. He unified for so many years. It’s a massive compliment to me that he didn’t believe he could come back fight with me. He wants a warm-up fight. So he’s definitely coming back. There’s definitely truth to it. He’s 100 percent coming back.”
“Klitschko is a smart fighter. He knows how to play with the media. He’s done this for many years. When he fought Joshua, he said there’s no chance he’s coming back. Then all of a sudden, there’s Joshua vs. Klitschko.”
Talk has now begun surrounding a possible fight with Dominic Breazeale. Breazeale is confident of a showdown with the Brit in order to try and secure the number one contender spot. He told Sky Sports:
“I hope he does make some type of deal with the PBC, if not some type of a deal with the personnel that’s around for me and him making a fight. People have talked about it for a while. I am a fan-pleasing type of guy, so if that’s what the fans want to see, I’m all for it.”
This talk of a jump to the PBC is likely to be a move from Whyte in order to scare Hearn into making a bigger deal for the April 13 date. It’s a savvy move. Hearn hasn’t been shy in expressing his reluctance at losing that date in the calendar, with 90,000 tickets waiting to be sold.
It’s now down to Whyte to prioritise his career or his purse. If he truly believes he can beat Joshua on April 13, then the next offer that appears on the table should be grabbed with both hands. One left hook - the same that rocked Joshua three years ago - is all that separates the Bodysnatcher from snatching the world titles away from his domestic rival. A stubborn wait for the right cheque may lead him into dangerous waters with nothing but pride at stake.
I am a big admirer of Whyte and how he has implemented changes to his career over the past three years. I was there at the O2 in December 2015 when he was stopped by Joshua for the British title, and if you were to tell me that he would be unbeaten since then, on the verge of a world title, a two-time pay-per-view headliner AND with an established fanbase, I would have checked what was inside your pint glass.
I hope his night in the spotlight comes. His honesty and willingness to fight the best should enable him to reap the rewards inside the ring.