BRITISH heavyweight Dillian Whyte’s ire at the sport’s governing bodies shows no sign of abating following the news that the WBO have installed their former cruiserweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk as the mandatory challenger to the winner of the mooted rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua.
Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs) is rated at number three by the WBO, and had hoped to be in line for a shot despite being bumped down the ratings this month due to the addition of Usyk at number one and the insertion of former holder Tyson Fury as the number two rated contender, yet he has been gazumped once again following his inability to nail down a WBC title challenge against Deontay Wilder.
“If I say what I really feel about these things, I might get removed from the rankings,” he told talkSPORT. “I start saying stuff and they send me emails and letters saying I can’t say these things and it’s disrespectful. But the fact that they’re disrespecting me constantly doesn’t mean anything. Boxing’s full of s**t, basically, and we see it time and time again. It’s a joke. He [Usyk] pulled out of the [Carlos] Takam fight. These guys are jokers. It is what it is.”
To add insult to injury, Whyte had dismissed a potential fight with Usyk earlier this year by telling iFLTV that: “He’s a good fighter, but no one knows who he is. He speaks no English. What I’m saying is he’s not really a big fight for me. The hard-core boxing fans will watch it, but imagine trying to sell Usyk-Dillian Whyte to the general public.” Well, the WBO certainly know who he is even if, in Whyte’s view, the wider public do not.
Usyk was coming off a big win over Tony Bellew at the Manchester Arena and had appeared on Sky Sports Box Office when Whyte made this claim, and he later entertained the idea of fighting the Ukrainian when speaking to Boxing News.
In the meantime, he has a fight against Oscar Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London on July 20 and will now switch his attention to that assignment before lining up something more substantial for later this year.
However, all the top names are tied up with each other so a world title shot of any variety could be a long time coming for the contender unless one of the organisations serves him up an interim or some such title to contest against the next available ranked fighter.
In fairness, the WBO’s Regulations allow scope for one of their “Super champions” to either move up or down a division and request to be installed as mandatory challenger in their new division. Usyk’s team did just that earlier this month as per Section 14. Super Champions and in particular by arguing that the WBO should apply the rule that states: ‘If requested by a Super Champion, the Championship Committee may designate the Super Champion as the mandatory challenger for the immediate higher or lower division.’
The WBO also took into consideration the fact that Whyte’s contest with Rivas prevented them from calling for him to fight an eliminator for the title while also arguing that although Usyk’s made less than the required 10 defences of his WBO cruiserweight title he fulfilled the Super Champion criteria due to the strength of his recent run of form and level of opposition as well as bearing in mind his extensive amateur pedigree, which is also in keeping with their regulations.
In the end, they batted back the objections of Whyte’s team, ruling that ‘The privileges and rights afforded by the WBO Super Champion provision supersede any other rights thereto of any WBO Participant.’ when explaining their decision. They also underlined the fact that their World Championship Committee has the final say on these matters.
Amir Khan (33-5, 20 KOs) has vowed to wipe away the bitter memory of his sixth-round loss to WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford and prove to boxing fans that there isn’t an ounce of quit in him.
Due to an injury sustained while driving by original opponent Neeraj Goyat, “King” Khan will now meet Australia’s Billy Dib (45-5, 26 KOs) in Jeddah on July 12 in a contest that he still hopes will pave the way for a meeting with Manny Pacquiao and earn him no small measure of redemption. Neither Goyat and now Dib were expected to trouble Khan, who believes that getting back to winning ways will help him come to terms with the loss to Crawford.
“I can’t live with it,” he said when reflecting back on the defeat and in particular trainer Virgil Hunter’s decision to throw the towel in following a painful low blow. “That’s why I took this fight so quickly, I want to erase that memory,” added Khan.
“That fight, I just can’t live with it. It did upset me. I’m one of those guys, who if I get knocked down, I get back up, I fight with my heart. That’s why I had to fight again as soon as possible. I want to erase that fight from my memory.”
Anthony Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs) has revealed that he intends to continue fighting and hopes to have a fight at the Manchester Arena towards the end of the year. “Million Dollar” lost in four rounds against Vasiliy Lomachenko at the Staples Center in April, but at an event organised by Ben & Jerry’s to welcome refugees to Manchester — yes, you read that right — the former WBA world lightweight holder reiterated his desire to continue fighting.
“Manchester is a proper community and in the same way the people here have always supported me during my career, I’m just as keen that we support refugees into the city and welcome them,” he told the Daily Express.
“I’m expecting to be out again at the end of the year, back at Manchester Arena. As much as I loved the American experience, this is my home and I owe it to the fans, whatever their background, to give them a show.”
Injuries are a constant source of frustration for fighters so making a winning return after some time out is always a welcome relief. Connor Parker (11-0, 1 KO) was motoring along nicely until injuring his neck at the turn of the year yet has bounced back with a four-round decision win over Dee Newton at the weekend to get his career underway again.
Parker picked up the Midland Area title in September courtesy of a fifth-round retirement win over Kevin Hooper, one of what he hoped would be a few title shots and wins, only to have to endure six-months on the side-lines. Now, though, he is back and itching to make up for lost time.
“I injured my neck in training in late February and it set me back a bit,” he said when speaking to the Derby Telegraph.
“It was very painful whenever I trained so I had to have a few weeks off training while I got treatment, which was very frustrating. I’ve recovered really well, though, and everything is all good now. I’ve been back training since April and everything has gone really well. I hadn’t boxed since December, so it was good to be back.”