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Dillian Whyte: Tyson Fury turned down offer to fight Oscar Rivas, I didn’t

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Dillian Whyte says he’s fighting the man Tyson Fury avoided.

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Boxing at The Copper Box Arena Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

In the middle of all of yesterday’s action, it was announced by Matchroom Boxing that Dillian Whyte will face Oscar Rivas on July 20 at London’s O2 Arena, headlining a Sky Box Office show.

It seems likely that the fight will air on DAZN in the United States, but that’s not official yet. Top Rank were reportedly close to a co-promotional deal with Rivas recently, which could put ESPN in play to carry the fight in the States, perhaps to stream on ESPN+. Showtime picked up the rights for Whyte’s last fight in December against Dereck Chisora.

Whyte (25-1, 18 KO) is a top contender in the heavyweight division, and says he’s fighting someone in Rivas (26-0, 18 KO) that other top names — namely Tyson Fury — have avoided.

“His KO victory over Bryant Jennings sent shockwaves through the division, and Tyson Fury just turned down ESPN and Top Rank’s offer to fight him,” Whyte said. “I am over the moon that he has accepted the fight. He has a great amateur and professional record, including (an amateur) win over Kubrat Pulev.”

Rivas, a Colombian now based in Canada, did indeed upset Kubrat Pulev at the 2008 Olympics, before losing to eventual gold medalist Roberto Cammarelle.

For the 31-year-old former Olympian, this fight is obviously a huge opportunity to make a real name for himself as a heavyweight contender. It was expected by most that he’d be in the plans longer-term for Fury and Top Rank, but he’s getting a significant fight right now.

‘‘I have waited for this opportunity for a very long time,” said Rivas. “Dillian Whyte is an excellent boxer, a world-class fighter, and the number one (WBC) contender. He deserves all my respect for his accomplishments, and I am grateful for the opportunity he is giving me.”