By Charles Brun: Dillian Whyte and Oscar ‘Kaboom’ Rivas will fight it out on Saturday night for the WBC interim heavyweight title with the victor being given a guaranteed title shot against the World Boxing Council champion. This Saturday’s Whyte-Rivas clash will be broadcast on Sky Box Office pay-per-view in the UK, and streamed on DAZN in the U.S.
Rivas competed in the 2008 Olympics for Colombia, and defeated Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev 11-5 before losing to Italy’s Roberto Cammarelle 9-5. Cammarelle ended up winning the gold medal. He’s the same fighter that Anthony Joshua beat by a highly controversial decision in the final of the 2012 London Olympics. For many boxing fans that saw the Joshua-Cammarelle fight, they had Cammarelle winning hands down.
Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs) will have the hometown advantage in fighting Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London, England. The O2 has become Whyte’s home more or less in staging the majority of his fights since 2015. That could be bad news for Rivas if the match goes to scorecards on Saturday night. However, Whyte’s wins haven’t been controversial at the O2 since he started fighting there four years.
Whyte-Rivas: Will the O2 Arena play a part in the outcome?
The only thing that’s noticeable is how Whyte has seemingly gotten away with roughing up his opponents without being penalized in fights that have taken place in that venue. He roughed up Joseph Parker and Dereck Chisora pretty good at the O2 without losing points.
Hopefully, the fight will be well officiated. Whyte comes from a kick boxing back ground, and that’s a sport where anything goes. It’s obviously been difficult for Whyte to transition fully into the boxing realm to fight under the Marquess of Queensberry rules. The referee should still do his job if Whyte starts using some of the tactics from his previous sport of kick boxing against Rivas on Saturday night.
Whyte: Rivas is “dangerous”
“The man is dangerous, look at him, he’s got it all,” said Whyte to skysports.com. “Like his team says he’s got a great team, and he trains in Colombia. He trained here, and he trained there. He came over, he adapted to the time zone and all this other stuff.
[Rivas has had] Hundreds of amateur fights, and all this other stuff, but this doesn’t mean nothing; this is going to be a fight, and it’s one thing I know how to do is fight. I’ve been fighting forever. Anyone that knows me will tell you, that’s what I do; I fight. I don’t know how to do a lot of other things well, but I know how to fight,” said Whyte.
Whyte shouldn’t blow his trumpet too much going into this fight, because he’s facing a quality guy this time around. This isn’t a shot Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne, Robert Helenious, Dereck Chisora or Dave Allen he’s facing on Saturday night. Rivas can actually fight, and he’s going to be looking to wear Whyte down by setting a fast pace that’ll be difficult for him to keep up with.
The main reason Whyte lost to Anthony Joshua in 2015 was because he gassed out after two rounds. Whyte shot off all his fireworks in a brief flurry of shots in round two, and he subsequently had little left to continue to fight hard after Joshua was still standing.
Whyte-Rivas fight has a lot on the line
There’s a lot on the line for the Rivas fight for Whyte. The winner will get a title shot against possibly Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury. Luis Ortiz, the talented Cuban fighter, also can’t be counted out as a possible foe for Whyte later this year. Ortiz, 40, will be fighting Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) in a rematch in November with the winner to move on to face Fury in February 2020.
Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) is someone that Whyte has sidestepped in the past, and it’s unclear whether he wants any part of the Cuban southpaw. It would be a bad look on Whyte’s part if he chooses to go in another direction if Ortiz is the last man standing in early 2020.
Whyte is referring to himself as the “underdog” going into his match against Rivas on Saturday night in London. Dillian isn’t overlooking the threat of Rivas despite his string of nine consecutive victories he’s put together since his loss to Joshua in 2015. Whyte has beaten these fighters: Ivica Bacurin, Ian Lewison, Joseph Parker, Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne, Robert Helenius, Dereck Chisora [x 2], Malcolm Tann and David Allen.
The problem is Whyte looked beatable in his two fights against Chisora, and in his match against Parker. Those are clearly the only two talented fighters of the bunch that Whyte has faced since his loss to Joshua. The remaining fighters were arguably throwaway fights against mediocre opposition. In other words, those were record padding opposition lined up for Whyte by his promoter Eddie Hearn to help him get wins under his belt.
Rivas eager to face Whyte
“I have worked very hard in the training camp and I’m looking forward to the fight,” said Rivas to Sky Sports News. “We’re going to see what happens in the fight on Saturday.”
A victory for Rivas can change his destiny by lining him up to fight for the WBC title, and make life-changing money. Whyte shouldn’t overlook the hunger that Rivas, 31, has going for him, because he hasn’t made the big money yet. Dillian has been getting paid well since he’s transitioned over to fighting on Sky Box Office PPV. Whyte is obviously doing well financially, and not hurting like some fighters. Rivas can put himself in position to make some big cash if he beats Whyte on Saturday night. Whyte may not realize it now, but he’s going to be in for a tough fight on Saturday night against the highly motivated Rivas.
“I’ve said many things, shouted, screamed, but it’s a good fight on paper and once again I’m the underdog. He’s in good shape, let’s see what happens on Saturday,” said Whyte. “I’m nothing special, the man over there has everything; he looks good, he has the amateur experience and has a big team,” said Whyte.
Look for Rivas to pull off a shocking upset by knocking out Whyte in the sixth round on Saturday night. Rivas’ all out, Mike Tyson-esque style of fighting is going to wear Whyte down like a battery, and cause him to crumble. Whyte is a good fighter, but he needs to compete at a slow pace for him to set up his big left hook power shots. When Whyte is able to dictate the pace, he’s a nightmare for his opponents. The guys that have given Whyte problems in the past, Joshua, Chisora and Parker, took the fight to him.
Whyte didn’t like that. Rivas is a much better pressure fighter than those three heavyweights. Those fighters need constant rest breaks for them to fight at a fast pace. Rivas doesn’t need to rest for him to continue to press the pace for three minutes of every round. In Whyte’s fight with Parker, he was on the brink of being knocked out in the 12th round when the New Zealand fighter went on the attack. Parker had fought timidly in the first 11 rounds of the contest. Rivas has the worst possible style for Whyte to be fighting.