THE latest person to suggest Wladimir Klitschko is preparing for a comeback is Dillian Whyte, the man apparently in line to face Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in April.
The Brixton heavyweight has said the great Ukrainian is “definitely” looking to come out of retirement and box again, despite Klitschko himself shooting down such rumours earlier in the week.
The former heavyweight king took to social media to describe talk of a comeback – first started by Steve Bunce on BBC Radio 5 live – as “fake news” and an “early April fool’s day joke”, but Whyte isn’t buying the denial.
“That’s a lie – Klitschko is definitely coming back,” he told Behind the Gloves. “We offered him a fight and he said he needs two warm-up fights before he fights me.
“That’s a massive compliment because he was a unified world champion and reigned for so many years.
“He’s definitely coming back, 100%. He’s a smart man, he knows how to play the media and control stuff. He does what he does and did it for years.
“George Foreman did it and he thinks he wants to come back and do it too. Klitschko is all about legacy, not money. It’s about cementing a legacy.
“If he comes back and loses, so what? If he wins, then great.”
Whyte is currently in Las Vegas to watch Saturday’s fight between Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner and was last seen knocking out fellow Briton Dereck Chisora in the penultimate round of a heavyweight slugfest at the O2 Arena in December. Following the win, he had been hoping to secure a rematch with Anthony Joshua for April.
That, however, seems to have hit a stumbling block or two and recently it emerged Whyte could be in line for a shock fight against Klitschko instead.
What’s more, though Klitschko has refuted rumours of a comeback, there have been reports in the US suggesting he has held talks with DAZN, the subscription streaming service currently powering the likes of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Anthony Joshua, which would indicate there remains strong interest in the Klitschko brand.
This should come as no surprise. Klitschko, after all, as a former champion, carries name power and a presence, and would no doubt fancy his chances of beating Whyte before then working his way towards a shot at Joshua, the last man to beat him.
British middleweight Anthony Ogogo wants to return to the boxing ring later this year, following some horrendous injury problems, but will first appear in a wrestling ring in Lowestoft on February 23.
The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist has had six operations since fracturing his eye socket in two places in his first professional defeat in October 2016. He remains hopeful, however, of one day making a full recovery and relaunching a once-promising boxing career.
Before that, Ogogo is set to appear for the World Association of Wrestling (WAW) in his hometown next month.
“I’m not taking one penny from this because I’m a pro boxer,” the 30-year-old told BBC Radio Norfolk: “I’ve been a wrestling fan my entire life, (but) I want to earn my money and leave my legacy in the boxing ring – this is fun for me.”
Ogogo will give his earnings from the event to charity and will be following in the footsteps of former Norwich City striker Grant Holt, who headlines a WAW show at Carrow Road on June 2.
Once the wrestling is out of the way, Ogogo hopes to get on the boxing comeback trail later this year – with sparring set to start at the end of February – but admits he won’t know whether a full comeback is possible until he starts getting punched.
“My eyes are now really, really good. Are they good enough? I won’t know until I start sparring,” said Ogogo, whose last operation was in November.
“When I get punched in the eye, is it going to break or get damaged again?
“Touch wood, I can get over those hurdles, my eyes won’t go ping, and I’m back in the ring in springtime. That’s the best-case scenario.”
All fighters have it hard. It kind of comes with the territory. But, certainly, some fighters have it much harder than others. Ogogo, a case in point, is someone who deserves a break in 2019.