During a revealing interview, Whyte opened up about a range of topics, including his troubled upbringing in Jamaica, his move from kickboxing/MMA to boxing, his rivalry with Anthony Joshua, his upcoming clash with Lucas Browne, his past drug suspension, and his chances of challenging Deontay Wilder for the WBC title.
As well as this, Whyte touched on a number of other subjects during our chat with him…
Switching trainers from Johnathon Banks to Mark Tibbs
“Banks is a very good trainer, but the problem was that he had Wladimir Klitschko, Cecilia Braekhus and me. We each had big fights coming up at similar times, so I had to go to Germany and follow Wladimir around, which wasn’t good for me. It wasn’t enough time. The style Banks was trying to teach me, you can’t learn that style in eight months. You need to work on that style continuously for two or three years.
“It was just an issue of timing. Klitschko was very demanding [with his training], because he was very professional. I had to train at this time, train at that time – work around him all of the time. So it just didn’t work out. But at the time, I did the best I could with the situation.
“I realised that we had to part company, so I could work with someone who could spend more time with me, improve me and work with me throughout the year, whether I’ve got a fight lined up or not. That’s what led me to Mark Tibbs. He’s a good trainer who’s got experience. He’s worked behind the scenes with lots of top fighters, helping his dad [Jimmy Tibbs] out. Plus, he was a decent little fighter himself.”
Thoughts on Lucas Browne as a fighter and person
“He’s hungry and he’s got nothing to lose, so he’ll come to fight, which makes him dangerous. He’s a big, strong, powerful guy, but I’ve faced guys like that before. He thinks he’s going to just come in and knock me out. Many have tried that and many have failed.
“He’s an ignorant guy and he’s a bully. He blames everyone for everything, and he’s always looking for an excuse. He doesn’t hold his hands up, man up and take responsibility for what he does. He constantly taunts people and talks crap to people on the internet. He’s a nasty, vindictive sort of character – and I don’t like that.”
Training for the Browne fight
“I do little bits and pieces over the weekend at home [in Brixton], then on Monday I do two big sessions – one in the morning, then one in the afternoon. After the second session, I drive up to Loughborough University – the facilities there are very good, and getting away from London helps me to focus more.
“Since I’ve been training in Loughborough, everything’s changed for me – I’ve opened up my mind to a more scientific approach to training, including a better diet and better lifestyle. I do three sessions there on Tuesday, another three sessions on Wednesday, two sessions on Thursday, three sessions on Friday, and then I drive back home to Brixton. I get back home late Friday night.
“It’s quite a heavy and hard schedule, but nothing good in life comes easy. As I said before, from an early stage in life I’ve been used to hardship and having to graft and dig deep. It’s just a part of the process to get to where I need to get to.”
Learning on the job
“I’m still improving and still climbing. I’m fighting at a high level without having much experience. I’m gaining more experience now by fighting on the big shows and having these tricky fights.
“I never had a long amateur career, so a lot of the styles I come up against in the ring, it’s the first time I’m seeing them. The other guys who have had lots of amateur fights, they’ve seen fighters like me before, but I haven’t necessarily seen many fighters like them.
“It was like Robert Helenius – that was the first time I’d ever fought a guy who was that tall and that awkward. But I dealt with it. That’s one thing about me – I have the capacity to see, learn and apply. That’s a good quality that you can’t teach – you either have it or you don’t.”
Having a boxing heritage
“Years after I’d got into boxing, I found out that both my dad and my grandad had done a bit of bareknuckle fighting back in the day. They never told me when I was growing up, because they hadn’t wanted me to get involved in boxing.
“Their view of boxing at the time was from the old days – that it was a dirty sport full of thugs, gangsters and gambling, where you get beaten up and don’t get paid at the end of the day. That’s why they never told me. I was annoyed at my dad when I found out. I said, ‘I wished you’d told me that you used to box, because I’d probably have gone to the boxing gym first instead of kickboxing!”