LIFE, as far Dillian Whyte seems to be concerned, would be so dull without a little risk. Expect Colombia’s Oscar Rivas to be a dangerous opponent for him when the two fight at the O2 Arena in London on July 20. Beyond that, the Londoner would be quite prepared to take on Oleksandr Usyk, the undisputed cruiserweight champion who has moved up to heavyweight.
While Whyte waits, with increasing impatience, for a shot at one of the three big name heavyweights, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury, in Rivas he has chosen about the most challenging foe available.
“I know that [Rivas] was a top amateur, went to the Olympics, beat a lot of top fighters that’s around now. A tough guy that’s undefeated, a good puncher, pressure fighter. He’s quite intelligent as a boxer as well,” Whyte said. “He’s undefeated, very highly ranked as well.
“We tried to chase the fights but there’s only a handful of fights out there for me and then none of those guys wanted to fight. So we looked for the next best opponent and then if you look who all the champions are fighting, all of them refused to fight Oscar Rivas. I said I’ll fight him.”
“I think it’s good fighting someone that everyone’s scared to fight,” he continued. “He’s a good fighter, he’s undefeated and it’s not like he’s on the decline. He’s young. We’re the same age.”
Rivas has been boxing on ESPN in America, the same broadcast network as Tyson Fury. But he claims the Briton declined a fight with him for being too small. Whyte declared, “Tyson Fury just chats rubbish. Tyson Fury consistently talks bollocks. He says one thing and he does another. ‘I’m the Gypsy King, I’m the greatest, I’m lineal this, blah, blah, blah.’ Then he goes and fights Tom Schwarz. Fight Oscar Rivas. He [Fury] ran away from the Deontay Wilder rematch. These guys talk rubbish. I try to do what I say I’m going to do. These guys constantly talk bollocks and these are the people the fans give all the credit to.”
Whyte insists that in contrast he’ll take on all comers. If people want to see him fight Oleksandr Usyk later this year, Whyte will oblige. “I said I’d fight him. Ages ago I said I’d fight him. But I’d fight anybody to be honest. I don’t think he will do well as a heavyweight. He’ll outbox a lot of guys. But it’s the heavyweight division. It’s a whole different kettle of fish. I’m not going there to have no boxing match with him. I’m not going to stand outside and try and outbox him. No, I’m going to try to track him down and hit him everywhere. Any way possible I can hit him, I’ll hit him,” Whyte said with relish.
After unifying and defending all four cruiserweight titles, Usyk will move up to heavyweight to fight Carlos Takam on May 25. “Takam’s quite tough. They picked a good fight for him,” Whyte said. “Takam is not very powerful, he’s fit. He hasn’t got a great work ethic but he’ll press the fight. So it’s a good opponent for Usyk to possibly outbox. I can’t see Usyk stopping him.”
The Brixton man is not convinced Uysk will be able to withstand the power of a full blown heavyweight puncher. “I think outside the top five he might be able to. But a top five guy, we’re big guys, very relentless, sharp punches as well. One punch can lay you out,” Whyte warned.
As ever, he would be happy to take the risk. “I don’t care,” Whyte said. “I don’t have a problem. You don’t have to sell a Usyk fight to me.
“If it makes sense and they want to get it, they can have it.”