THINGS are looking up for Dillian Whyte.
Six weeks on from being cleared to box again by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), Whyte has a couple of fights lined up for 2020, both of which will do far more for his career than the 10-round ‘comeback’ he completed against Mariusz Wach on December 7.
His first fight of this year could come against Russian Alexander Povetkin, another heavyweight with some patchy history when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs, while his second fight could see Whyte go up against recently dethroned world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jnr.
“We’re still in negotiations with Andy Ruiz,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “That fight has more chance of happening in America.
“That could be the second fight of the year for Dillian Whyte, or the first one.
“Right now, Povetkin is the front runner. We’re looking at the end of April, or early May for the return of Dillian Whyte.”
Safe to say, by the time Dillian Whyte gets the chance to fight for a version of the world heavyweight title, he will be as deserving – in terms of opponents faced and defeated – as any recent challenger. Whether by choice or circumstance, he is having to do things the hard way.
There has been plenty of excitement building in Australia for a fight between former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn and fast-rising super-welterweight contender Tim Tszyu, but this has been tempered today by news of a potential stumbling block in negotiations.
The two fighters’ respective camps have been trying to thrash out a deal this week for a fight in April. However, according to Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan, they still have some way to go before any sort of announcement can be made. The message: calm down, people.
“They want the fight over 12 rounds, we want it over 10 and we’re not moving,” Lonergan told World of Boxing. “There will be no fight without a rematch clause and we’re adamant on that. Matt (Rose, Tszyu’s promoter) got very heated in the debate. He said, ‘We’re not going to have that. If we win this, we’re onto a world title.’
“I personally think they’re kidding themselves because I know the landscape backwards. A world title at the back of this is not a possibility.
“It might be for Jeff Horn, but not for Tim Tszyu. Jeff Horn has got a much bigger name than Tim Tszyu.
“Right now, the fight absolutely hangs in the balance and they’re very aggressive on these points which I find fascinating. It got very heated.
“We’re probably going to give ourselves seven days to do it. If they can’t concede to it, I struggle to see it going ahead.”
A big seven days lie ahead for Messrs Horn and Tszyu and an even bigger all-Australian battle for now remains in the balance.