DILLIAN WHYTE seems weary. He’s been fighting his whole life. From a rough childhood, to a kickboxing career and then boxing itself. He’s been working his way up, rebuilding after defeat to Anthony Joshua, winning the British title, earning his place high in the rankings. Yet still his world title shot remains elusive. He has once again one more one last fight before he gets to world championship level.

He leans forward, resting his thick arms on the table in front of him. He might not be tired but perhaps he is frustrated. “I don’t know. My last fight was supposed to be my last fight before I got a world title shot. I don’t know. I have no idea. We’ll see. One would think but we’ll see what happens,” he said. “It’s been frustrating because everyone’s had their shot apart from me. Everyone that started out at the same time as me, roughly the same, they’ve all had their shot apart from me. But it is what it is. Life is like a poker, you’ve got to play the hand you’ve been dealt. I can’t cry about it. My mum says don’t cry over spilt milk, clean it up and move on. So that’s the mindset I have literally. Things will work out.”

Defeat to Joseph Parker on Saturday night at the O2 arena in London, while a real possibility, would be disastrous. Their fight is topping the bill and has been made a pay-per-view, not ideal for fans but lucrative for the fighters.

“When I was growing up I never knew I would even be alive at this age. I don’t think about it a lot, but when I do, I think, ‘Woah.’ A lot of people I grew up with are dead or doing long, long stretches in prison. Sometimes I think some of the things I have done or been through – ‘I was lucky there.’ God must have had a higher purpose for me. I never thought I would be there, but when I got into the boxing I knew I would be a world champion, straight away I knew. I was doing it my way. Then we changed it up, changed the level and mindset and training and it has just become so much clearer now. The vision has always been there, but it is clear now,” he said.

Dillian Whyte

Whyte also is beginning to feel more appreciated. More and more supporters are connecting with him. “I’ve always felt like that but never had the stage and the platform because the media made me out to be this madman so I never had the chance. Even if I said it at the time, you guys would have still thought I was a scumbag because that’s what the media made me out to be. So I needed to get to the right stage and the right time and my team has done a great job showing there is more than one side to me so we’ve been planting seeds for years and years and years – it’s been a hard, hard journey – and it’s good that people are finally realising that there is more than one side to this whole thing. Not just that aggressive madman,” Dillian said. “It’s getting there. I’ve just been myself, I haven’t changed. I’m not ignorant, I’m not arrogant, I give my time to people, I speak to everyone and show everyone. I treat everyone with respect and I don’t start on people. Unless they start on me.”