Ahead of his fight with Alexander Povetkin, we take a look back at the five fights that made Dillian Whyte a top contender in the heavyweight division and left many questioning why he still has not had his shot at the top prizes.
Dillian Whyte v Anthony Joshua (December 2015)
You are probably wondering why I have included Whyte’s only professional defeat of his career so far, but the fact is he was able to take a lot out of that first pro meeting with his long-time rival. ‘The Body Snatcher’ clearly got inside Anthony Joshua’s head on the night as the tension threatened to boil over into an all-out brawl between the two camps, and he was also the first man to test the punch resistance of the former Olympic gold medallist. Whyte was able to stun Joshua and had him reeling for a couple of rounds, but ‘AJ’ regained his composure though and brought an entertaining contest to a close in the seventh when he uncorked an uppercut that sent Whyte crashing down into the ropes. ‘The Body Snatcher’ had been beaten, but he had shown that Joshua could be rocked and it is fair to say that since that night he has improved considerably. That, along with previous experience of facing Joshua, could be huge if the two men meet again in the future.
Dillian Whyte v Lucas Browne (March 2018)
Whyte rebounded from that loss to Joshua by reeling off six straight wins and by the time he stepped in the ring with Lucas Browne he appeared to be on the brink of landing a shot at WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. ‘The Body Snatcher’ knew that an impressive win over the Lucas Browne would help his cause, and he delivered a career-best performance to destroy the previously unbeaten Australian inside six rounds. Whyte was punch-perfect on the night, showcasing a great variety in his arsenal before wrapping things up with pinpoint left hook.
Dillian Whyte v Joseph Parker (July 2018)
Despite tearing through Lucas Browne there was still no title shot for Whyte, so in an attempt to force the hand of the governing body, or one of the champions, he agreed to take on former world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker, who had surrendered the WBO belt to Anthony Joshua a few months earlier. This was expected to be Whyte’s toughest test to date and that proved to be the case as the two men went 12 rounds. ‘The Body Snatcher’ twice dropped his opponent during the contest, in the second and ninth rounds, but he ran out of steam late on and had to fend off a brave rally from the former champion. Whyte was hurt and sent to the canvas with just 20 seconds to go, but he was able to get back to his feet, beat the count and see the final bell, with the judges then ruling the fight in his favour. Now with a win over a former world champion, could Whyte really be denied a shot at Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua?
Dillian Whyte v Dereck Chisora (December 2018)
Once again the answer to that last question was ‘yes’, so Whyte decided to settle and old score once and for all in an attempt to stay busy. ‘The Body Snatcher’ had edged a split decision win over Dereck Chisora when the two men met back in a thrilling contest back in December 2016, but he was determined to leave no doubts when the two men signed on the dotted line for a rematch. Whyte’s plan almost backfired on him though. He entered the 11th round trailing on two of the three judges’ scorecards despite Chisora being penalised two points, but the judges were taken out of the equation in the penultimate round when Whyte countered his opponent’s pressure with a left-hook that send him sprawling to the canvas. The referee did not even need to deliver a count as Chisora’s team rushed into the ring to tend to the fallen fighter. Whyte had survived a scare, but had he finally done enough to land a world heavyweight title match?
Dillian Whyte v Oscar Rivas (July 2019)
Yet again Whyte was snubbed. Anthony Joshua’s shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr meant he was off the table and the other world champion, Deontay Wilder, decided that a rematch with Luis Ortiz was the more appealing option as he warmed up for a rematch with Tyson Fury. That left Whyte in limbo once again and he could have been forgiven for taking an ‘easy’ assignment for his first outing of 2019. Instead he took on an incredibly tough one in Oscar Rivas – a man many hailed as the most avoided fighter in the heavyweight division aside from Whyte himself. Fight night showed why. Whyte had Rivas reeling early on in the contest and appeared to be firmly in control as the fight wore on, but the Colombian almost destroyed ‘The Body Snatcher’s world title dream in the ninth round when he put him down with a left uppercut against the ropes. Whyte recovered well though and smartly negotiated his way through the final three rounds to get the nod from the judges. A world title shot had been earned – but will 2020 be the year in which Whyte finally gets one?