Boxing News At Five

Boxing News at Five: Khan opponent says he could have died in the ring, Whyte set for December 7 return in Saudi Arabia

Amir Khan vs Phil Lo Greco
Action Images
Former Khan opponent Phil Lo Greco has some pertinent things to say to fighters suffering concussion symptoms, and Dillian Whyte could be about to return

AN interesting and important piece with Phil Lo Greco can be found here and touches on some rather important issues, both in terms of fighter safety and the desperate need for a boxer to make money.

In the article Lo Greco talks about how his utterly forgettable fight against Amir Khan last April was one he took knowing he was nowhere near 100% fit and reveals the reason he wore sunglasses during the pair’s press conference was because a long-term concussion happened to be so serious he was unable to tolerate the bright lights or stop his left eyeball from wandering.

Though symptoms he had been hiding for over a year, Lo Greco figured a fight against Khan, inactive for two years, was a risk worth taking. He saw a victory as his key to further success and further paydays.

The reality, though, was quite different. The reality was a stoppage defeat inside just 39 seconds.

“I was looking past him. I thought that he had been out for two years and if I beat him with a puncher’s chance, I could fight Kell Brook,” Lo Greco said. “I wasn’t able to make a healthy decision. I made an unprofessional decision and I took the Khan fight.

“In my blogs, I was talking openly about how great my training camps in Las Vegas were going. But it was literally just a weight-loss camp. I showed everyone how to lose 38 pounds in two months.”

Since the fight Lo Greco has undergone surgery to repair a strabismus in his left eye – essentially, a lazy eye – and has stayed away from the ring entirely.

Following a period of bad decisions, one could argue surgery and boxing abstinence are two of the best the Canadian could have made.

“I went to the doctor and told him I was seeing blurry, feeling confused and having all these negative thoughts,” he said. “I was extremely mentally tired and physically drained.

“I said to myself, ‘Maybe I’m just overthinking.’ But I was concussed. I couldn’t keep my thoughts together.

“I was lucky Khan ended it in 40 seconds because I could have lost my life that night. I could have died, and never seen my daughter.

“I would have been a coward not to address this, for myself and for future boxers.

“I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. I don’t remember a lot of stuff. I don’t remember the biggest fight of my life, the Khan fight, the camp leading up to it.

“But I feel there are a lot of fighters out there going into the ring with symptoms that they don’t want to talk about.”

Lo Greco, like so many, has seen double, seen the light, and seen every one of the warning signs flash before his eyes. But if medically cleared to fight, he says he will continue to do so.

Amir Khan
Khan splashes water at Lo Greco (Action Images/Andrew Boyers)

Promoter Eddie Hearn has suggested Dillian Whyte could return to the ring sooner than expected and says he could even find himself boxing in Saudi Arabia on December 7.

If true, it marks a sizeable breakthrough for a man whose career has been up in the air ever since it was reported he had failed a performance-enhancing drug test ahead of a 12-round decision win over Oscar Rivas on July 20.

That fight was supposed to be the final hurdle Whyte cleared before earning a shot against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. However, rather than provide clarity and a clear path, the circumstances surrounding the victory served to only make things messier.

Whyte, 26-1 (18), was subsequently cast as some sort of pariah and the actions of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) have ensured nobody knows what’s going on.

All we know at this point is that he has been stripped of his WBC interim title and told he won’t get a shot at the full belt until 2021. Other than that, Whyte, is seemingly free to fight again, something his promoter, Eddie Hearn, all but confirmed in a recent interview with iFL.tv.

When asked to name a possible replacement for the cancelled December 7 Scott Quigg vs. Jono Carroll fight, Hearn mentioned Whyte’s name before speculating about potential opponents. “Not sure yet,” he said. “It’s not going to be a top five or ten guy. But it will be a good fight. We’re working it out.”

If nothing else, the reappearance of Dillian Whyte will at least put a stop to the rumours and the confusion and the nonsense that has surrounded his July 20 win over Rivas.

It will presumably clear up not a thing, and the calls for Dillian Whyte’s B sample will continue unabated, but still, let’s not act like the Brixton man is the first heavyweight to ignore controversy and thrive in the face of a perceived transgression.

Whyte could be set for a return (Dave Thompson)

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  • Very interesting and enjoyable as always, Elliott. I always wonder why Boxing News at Five isn’t sent out as a newsletter, if only as a link to the full version on the website. Asking people to remember to go on the site seems a bit pre-digital and missing the point.

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