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Dillian Whyte rolls the dice once again in splitting with trainer Mark Tibbs

Dillian Whyte’s decision to split with trainer Mark Tibbs is a huge risk ahead of his date with Alexander Povetkin this August.

Dillian Whyte v Oscar Rivas - Heavyweight Boxing Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images
Lewis Watson is a sports writer from London, UK, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has been a contributor at Bad Left Hook since 2018.

Before the “Body Snatcher” became Dillian Whyte’s more commonly-known nickname, the British heavyweight would go by the names “Lone Wolf” or “Dillian the Villain.”

In parting ways with trainer Mark Tibbs this past week, White (27-1, 18 KO) may have breathed new life into his former monikers.

Mark Tibbs has done a fantastic job with Whyte over the past four years. 11 victories have followed Whyte’s solitary loss to Anthony Joshua in 2015, with Tibbs proving fundamental to the improvements made to the artillery of the 32-year-old. Tibbs’ involvement with Whyte has also coincided with his decision to train at Loughborough University, with strength and conditioning improving the physicality of the heavyweight.

The timing of this announcement will be music to the ears of Alexander Povetkin. The pair are due to fight on Aug. 22, with the Briton attempting to cling on to his WBC interim belt.

Splits happen in boxing all the time – it’s part and parcel of the business. Fighter-trainer relationships are often tested by location, timings, growth and commitment to other fighters, but the nature of Whyte and Tibbs parting company on this occasion didn’t sit quite right.

Interviews conducted with Tibbs by YouTube outlets iFLTV and Seconds Out were taken down shortly after being posted. The interviews with the trainer were fairly vanilla, certainly not warranting the apparent desperation for them to be removed from the public domain.

Tibbs explained how he wasn’t contacted by Whyte directly regarding the decision to part ways, instead, finding out through emails from lawyers and Whyte’s statement where he explained the logistical problems of training in Portugal when Tibbs was back in London.

“Just to let everyone know, Mark Tibbs and I are no longer working together as boxer and trainer,” Whyte wrote on Instagram. “I’m training in Portugal, Mark has a young family, and his own new gym in the UK.

“As it stands, it just hasn’t worked out in the way we both hoped it would. Mark came into my team four years ago and has helped me turn into the world-class fighter I am today. Mark is a great trainer, and I will always be grateful to him and his dad for all they have done.”

In reaction to this statement, Tibbs’ disappointment was clear. The trainer confirmed that he hadn’t spoken directly to Whyte and suggested that plans were in place for him to return to Portugal to start camp with Dillian when the Povetkin date was announced.

Xavier Miller is expected to be in Whyte’s corner come August’s Fight Camp bout, with plenty of water left under the bridge to clear between Tibbs and Whyte’s relationship.

Until we understand the whole story behind the split, it would be unfair to cast aspersions on either. It’s the nature of the business, and blame will inevitably be attached to both sides in the future.

Dillian will be cast as the villain by not contacting Tibbs directly, but the decision to remove Tibbs’ reactions from YouTube – whomever made it – may well have caused unnecessary smoke when there was no blazing fire.

As for Whyte, this latest rolling of the dice may prove to the most costly yet.

Follow Lewis Watson @lewroyscribbles

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