By Charles Brun: Dillian Whyte wants to fight for the WBC title now after beating Oscar Rivas by a 12 round unanimous decision last Saturday in a world title eliminator at the O2 Arena in London, England. Whyte edged Rivas by the scores 115-112, 115-112 and 116-111. It was far from a dominating performance by the 31-year-old Whyte (26-1, 18 KOs), but he was facing a guy that was on the same level as him in terms of talent.
Rivas (26-1, 18 KOs) proved to be a tough customer in dropping Whyte in round nine, and hurting him in the twelfth. The outcome might have been different had the referee Victor Loughlin not intervened several times to give Rivas warnings in the 12th round for leading with his head.
Whyte had been hurt by a right hand from Rivas, and he was being taken apart by him. For some inexplicable reason, Loughlin picked that point in the fight to insert himself into the match in pulling Rivas off of the badly hurt Whyte. All of this likely won’t be lost on WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who will likely be vowing to make sure that his title defense against Whyte doesn’t take place in the UK.
Whyte says he could have to wait another 600 days for a title shot
“It’s boxing, a lot of things get said and not a lot happens,” said Whyte after his win over Rivas.”Being mandatory could mean I wait another 600 days.”
Whyte’s comment about the 600 days that he’s had to wait for him to become the WBC mandatory stems from the fact that the World Boxing Council installed him at #1 in their heavyweight rankings in 2017. But instead of making Whyte the mandatory, the WBC left him at the #1 for over 600 days. The basic problem was twofold: The WBC already had Dominic Breazeale as their mandatory for Wilder.
Whyte will get his title shot against the WBC champion either in 2020 or 2021. WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder defends next against Luis Ortiz, the fighter that Whyte chose not to face in the WBC eliminator, and then after that he’ll fight Tyson Fury in a rematch.
It’s expected that the winner of those two fights will look to setup a big unification match against the winner of the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. rematch in late summer of 2020. The World Boxing Council likely will let the WBC champion take the unification fight against the Joshua-Ruiz Jr. winner, as unification matches supersede mandatory defenses.
Whyte and Hearn need to stay patient
If Hearn and Whyte don’t know that by now, they’ll soon find that out. Whyte will get his title shot against the WBC champion, but it might not be until either late 2020 or early 2021. Its all good though, because the match will be much bigger by then, especially if Joshua is the last man standing.
Whyte vs. Joshua is a much bigger money fight than if Whyte were to face Wilder, Ruiz Jr. or Fury. It would be a good idea for Hearn to break that down to Whyte so that he doesn’t complaining nonstop when he fails to get his title shot against the WBC champion by May 2020.
The WBC’s resolution is Whyte is supposed to be given a crack at the title by May of next year, but there might be extenuating circumstances that prevent that from happening. If the WBC champions chooses to face the winner of the Joshua-Ruiz Jr. rematch, then the WBC isn’t going to tell them, ‘No, you can’t do that. You need to fight Whyte, because the’s the WBC mandatory.’
Whyte has made it difficult for himself
When the WBC tried to get Whyte to take part in a WBC title eliminator against Luis Ortiz in 2018, Dillian chose not to take the fight. If you look at it from the WBC’s perspective, Whyte wasn’t willing to go along with the program. In other words, it appeared that Whyte wanted to be made the WBC mandatory without him having to take part in a WBC title eliminator. As such, it doesn’t matter that Whyte was ranked #1.
He still had someone in front of him as the WBC mandatory challenger in Breazeale, and he still needed to fight in an eliminator. All this appeared to go over Whyte and his promoter Eddie Hearn’s heads, as they felt that being #1 in the rankings was synonymous as being the WBC mandatory. That’s clearly not the case. They now know the difference, but it’s taken them a while to figure that out.
Hearn plans on keeping Whyte busy until he gets WBC title shot
“He won’t sit on the WBC shot, there’s always ups-and-downs and drama with Whyte, one thing is confirmed tonight, he is WBC Interim world champion. But more importantly than the belt, he’s now mandatory challenger, that shot will come, it’s just a case of when,” said Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn to Sky sports.
It would be a good idea for Hearn to set Whyte up with some interesting stay busy fights against the likes of Adam Kownacki, Joe Joyce, Filip Hrgovic, Michael Hunter, Oleksandr Usyk, Sergey Kuzmin or Joseph Parker. It’s unlikely Hearn will make any of those fights, however, because there’ s a good chance that Whyte would lose to some or all of those fighters. Usyk, Joyce, and Hrgovic would all likely beat Whyte.
Parker would beat Whyte in a neutral venue in this writer’s opinion. He obviously couldn’t beat Whyte when they fought last year at the O2, thanks to a blow call by the referee in giving Dillian credit for a knockdown after he rammed heads with Parker. It’s likely that Hearn will keep Whyte busy by matching him against a soft job like David Price or Dave Allen, if he can coax him to continue fighting.
Dillian Whyte deserves being WBC mandatory says Hearn
“Before the end of May 2020, Dillian must fight for the full WBC world title,” said Hearn. “For over 600 days he’s been number one with the WBC and now he is officially the mandatory challenger. He deserves this, he has beaten another world-class fighter in Oscar Rivas, he’s improving all the time. He’s mandatory, Dillian Whyte’s worked so hard from the get-go and people have been trying to deny him,” Hearn said.
Well, it’s subjective whether one considers Whyte as deserving of being the WBC mandatory or not. It obviously looks bad that Hearn is the one that hand picked Rivas for Whyte to fight in the WBC title eliminator instead of the sanctioning body. Hearn being able to pick who Whyte fought in the WBC eliminator instead of the sanctioning body kind of defeats the purpose. Why didn’t Whyte agree to fight Luis Ortiz last year when the WBC ordered them to fight? Rivas looked decent, but hardly great last Saturday.
You can argue that Rivas would have lost to ALL of the following fighters had been inside the ring with them last Saturday:
- Adam Kownacki
- Joe Joyce
- Daniel Dubois
- Kubrat Pulev
- Tyson Fury
- Sergey Kuzmin
- Michael Hunter
- Oleksandr Usyk
- Luis Ortiz
- Alexander Povetkin
- Zhilei Zhang
- Carlos Takam
- Dereck Chisora
- Joseph Parker
- Otto Wallin
- Ivan Dychko
Hearn was smart to pick the stamina-plagued Rivas for Whyte to fight instead of agreeing to let him fight Ortiz. But it’s difficult to give Whyte credit for beating Rivas, because he looked so badly flawed.