By Oliver Scott
Dillian Whyte defeated Columbian Oscar Rivas at the O2 Arena to ensure that he is the mandatory challenger for Deontay Wilder’s WBC belt. Despite a scare in Round Nine, when he was knocked down for just the third time in his career by a deadly Rivas uppercut, Whyte recovered to win by unanimous decision as he seeks the chance to prove himself against the heavyweight boxing elite.
Whyte was on top in the early rounds as he landed a heavy right hand during the second in his mission to extend his professional record to 26-1. However, Rivas gradually grew into the fight and after absorbing some huge punches threw one of his own in the ninth which left Whyte temporarily stunned.
The Body Snatcher got off the canvas showing the strength of his chin and finished the round with some admirable punches of his own. He regained his composure and controlled the remaining three rounds before scores of 115-112, 115-112 and 116-111 assured him of victory.
Whyte has proven with recent fights against Joseph Parker, Dereck Chisora and now Oscar Rivas that he is prepared to fight anyone in his quest to gain his second world title shot since being knocked out by Anthony Joshua in 2015.
Whyte’s attitude and determination to prove himself against those around him in the rankings is a breath of fresh air in the current climate of heavyweight boxing where both Fury, Wilder and Joshua for one reason or another are not making the fights that boxing fans want to see.
He has capitalised on the hesitancy of those around him to put their careers on the line and has built up his boxing CV so that he now has every right to be mentioned in the same breath as boxings ‘big three.’
However, getting a fight sorted with Wilder will be far harder than it seems with his team having set up a rematch against Luiz Ortiz and then Tyson Fury meaning despite all his efforts, Whyte may still have to wait upwards of 18 months to two years to gain the fight he has so dearly craved.
Promoter Eddie Hearn will have to try to renegotiate with Wilder’s notoriously tricky team in the hope that talks will not disintegrate as they have done repeatedly when representing Anthony Joshua.
Despite this, Whyte has proved it is certainly not a lack of desire on his side that is proving the stumbling block in negotiations and if the fights are made and the promoters can put their differences aside Whyte’s addition to the heavyweight elite mean this has the potential to be the most exciting heavyweight era since the turn of the millennia.
Yet if the fighters keep avoiding each other this golden opportunity will slip by the wayside as the fighters age and fans frustration builds. This is what makes Whyte’s attitude so refreshing and if Fury, Joshua and most importantly, Wilder adopt even something remotely similar, the next few years could be a golden era for the heavyweight division.
Image: Kokeshi75 via Pixabay