Dillian Whyte determined to get his shot at the WBC heavyweight title
Dillian Whyte refuses to accept the possibility of his WBC heavyweight title shot being pushed back beyond the stipulated date of February next year.
In reinstating Whyte as its interim champion and mandatory challenger last December after a doping violation charge was dropped, the WBC indicated the Londoner would fight for the famous green and gold belt in early 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic complicates the situation as major boxing shows have been put on hold, while WBC titlist Tyson Fury is contractually obliged to face former champion Deontay Wilder for a third time on any resumption.
Speculation is mounting that Fury could then fight Anthony Joshua to determine the undisputed heavyweight champion but Whyte is adamant there should be no further obstacles standing in the way of his shot by the date outlined.
Whyte told the PA news agency: “I’ve waited long enough now and I’ve been mandatory and number one for long enough now. The WBC have got to uphold their end of their bargain.
“I’ve more than done my bit, I’ve more than done what’s required of me and what’s been asked of me. I just want to be full WBC world champion. It’s one of the highest prizes in sport, the WBC heavyweight championship.
“It’s all good fighting people because I’m a fighter and just winning fights and knocking everyone out, that’s all good and enjoyable but you need a belt to secure the history and cross it off the list.
“I want to be able to say ‘I was WBC or WBA or IBF or WBO heavyweight champion of the world’.”
Wilder is currently convalescing from an operation to repair his left bicep which he injured in his seventh-round stoppage defeat to Fury in February.
Therefore if there is any possibility of a fight being arranged with Fury in the next few months, Whyte would jump at the chance.
Whyte said: “I don’t see why not because Deontay Wilder is injured, I’ve been the number one challenger for a long time so Fury should just fight me next.
“Let’s have a massive fight and get rid of this WBC mandatory and number one contender nonsense.”
For now, Whyte is focused on his next bout against Alexander Povetkin, which he expects to be rearranged for the end of July or early August following the Government’s announcement that professional sport could return next month.
Any action for the foreseeable future will take place behind closed doors although many athletes have expressed concern about a comeback in the face of a continued public health crisis.
Whyte acknowledged the pandemic puts many things into perspective and admitted to some worries himself, but he will ultimately trust his handlers, including promoter Eddie Hearn, to act in his best interests.
Speaking from Portugal, where he is training in lockdown, Whyte said: “When there is something going on that you don’t know, there’s always a safety concern.
“But Eddie knows what he’s doing, the British Boxing Board of Control know what they’re doing and I’ve got my team around me.
“Even here, two of my team are medical professionals so they’re constantly monitoring everything, checking everything, constantly sterilising everything and making sure everything’s good.
“On the professional side, the board is very careful and sensitive in dealing with this matter. They’ll set the rules and regulations that they’ll constantly be reviewing and updating. I’m sure it’s going to be as safe as it can be.”
Whyte is due to feature in a BBC series ‘I’ve Been There’, chronicling his past experiences with gangs and knife crime as a teenager and how boxing proved a salvation.
He said: “Boxing has definitely saved my life, kept me out of trouble and kept me out of prison as well.”
During his episode, Whyte visits two aspiring teenage boxers who have also experienced gang violence to encourage them on how to get better in the ring and stay away from a dangerous path.
He added: “It’s very important because growing up I never had no one or any guidance to tell me what to do or try and help me.”
:: I’ve Been There is on BBC iPlayer now and on BBC Sounds from May 20.