Boxing News At Five | Aug 16 2019

Boxing News at Five: Sulaiman says the WBC have not suspended Whyte, Spong lets his cougar run amok

The WBC have suspended his interim and mandatory status rather than Dillian Whyte, and Tyrone Spong can't control his cougar
Dillian Whyte

THE only thing we know about Dillian Whyte’s “adverse finding” on a UKAD (UK Anti-Doping) drug test before a July 20 fight against Oscar Rivas, is that nobody really knows anything, let alone what’s going to happen next.

Whyte, the fighter in question, claimed said he beat Rivas “fair and square” and that everything said about him in the last four weeks has been “rubbish”, while the show’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has asked for it all to “play out” and believes Whyte needs time to “prove his innocence”.

Rivas’ team are up in arms, of course. They want to know why they weren’t informed about the hearing Whyte had on the day of the fight. They want to know why he was then cleared to fight.

As for the WBC, the body who initially sanctioned the July 20 interim title fight, they appear as confused as everybody else and they, too, must wait before acting.

Mauricio Sulaiman, the sanctioning body’s president, told the Pound for Pound Podcast with Jake Wood and Oliver Spencer: “I would like to elaborate with as much clarity as possible. However, this is a very complex situation because of the legality.

“Everything is being handled now in the legal aspect so I’m going to just give you a brief summary.

“The WBC officially sanctioned the bout for the WBC interim and mandatory position. The fight took place and a few days later it was reported that there was an adverse finding.

“The WBC had absolutely no knowledge prior to the fight taking place. We have contacted the different parties of interest, which is the BBBofC (British Boxing Board of Control), Dillian Whyte and his representatives and everything has been led to go through UKAD (UK Anti-Doping).

“At this moment I want to clarify that the WBC did not suspend Dillian Whyte. The WBC suspended the situation regarding the interim championship and mandatory status of the division.

“Dillian Whyte has the right to go through a process which is regarding the adverse finding.”

So, to be clear, Dillian Whyte hasn’t been suspended by the WBC. Instead, the situation itself – the interim championship, the mandatory spot – has been put on hold until results of the B sample come to light. If proven innocent, Whyte will be allowed to proceed as WBC interim heavyweight champion, as well as WBC mandatory challenger, and finally get his shot against WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder next year. If, however, the B sample yields the same “adverse” result as the A sample, the WBC will then be forced to act accordingly.

“If he is cleared,” Sauliman said, “then he will be confirmed as interim champion and mandatory contender.”

As important as it is Dillian Whyte is cleared – or not – the situation itself also needs clearing up. We need to know what happened, why it happened, and figure how similar situations can be prevented in future. Because whether Whyte wins the fight to clear his name or not, the sport itself has endured a shellacking in the past four weeks and seems no closer to repairing its wounds.  

Dillian Whyte
Dillian Whyte has been at the centre of a storm (Action Images/Reuters/Andrew Couldridge)

In other news, the Sun-Sentinel report that Tyrone Spong, the WBC and WBO Latino heavyweight champion, has been charged with keeping an animal without a permit after he allowed his pet cougar to escape his Florida home earlier this year.

Back in January, Parkland residents spotted what they believed to be an endangered Florida panther so alerted wildlife officers who responded promptly and subdued it with a tranquilizer.

State wildlife investigators doubted the animal was one of the native felines, despite Parkland being near the eastern edge of Florida panther habitat, and said the large cat was instead a captive-bred cougar.

According to officials, the courage was underweight when captured but has since made a full recovery and is now being housed in a licensed facility.

Thirty-three-year-old Spong, better known for his impressive exploits in kickboxing, holds a 13-0 (12) pro boxing record and is due to next appear on August 31 in Merida, Mexico. That will mark his first fight since edging Ytalo Perea via split-decision in December to retain his two Latino titles.

It could be argued Spong, too, is a big cat trying to be a panther in a second combat sport.

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