Dillian Whyte will face the biggest challenge of his boxing life on Saturday night, as he meets WBC, The Ring and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. To get you in the mood for the Wembley Stadium super-showdown, here is a look back at five of the best fights involving ‘The Body Snatcher’.
Anthony Joshua, 12th December 2015
It may seem curious to include one of Whyte’s two losses on this list, but there is no doubt this was the fighter’s breakout performance. He might have fallen to a seventh-round TKO defeat to ‘AJ’, who would win his first world title in his next fight, but Dillian announced himself in an absorbing war.
This fight exhibited the first chinks in the armour of the hitherto invincible Joshua, as Whyte rocked his old amateur rival in the second round. The Brixton heavyweight unloaded with shots, trying to bring the Olympic gold medalist down again but to no avail. Whyte would enjoy more success as the fight wore on, but was stopped by ‘AJ’ in the seventh stanza. It was Whyte’s first loss, but it made him a star to the British boxing fraternity.
Derek Chisora I and II, 2016-2018
Two days shy of a year had passed since the Joshua defeat when Whyte fought his next world level opponent, Derek Chisora. Dillian had cleared up domestically in that time, winning three fights and the British heavyweight crown during an active year. But former WBC title challenger Chisora would be his next great test.
The bout was a thrilling war of attrition and one of the best seen in a British ring in 2016. Whyte won a close split decision victory. When the pair touched gloves again two years later, the improvements ‘The Body Snatcher’ had made were clear. It was another engaging clash, but this time Whyte knocked out his foe in eleven rounds.
Robert Helenius, 28th October 2017
Another significant step up in class for Whyte, Robert Helenius presented a different kind of challenge than the brave brawler Chisora. The tall, rangy Finn had only lost once in a career spent mixing at world level. Former world champions Sergei Liakhovich, Lamon Brewster and Samuel Peter had all been stopped by the ‘Nordic Nightmare’.
The fight itself was dull, with the awkward style Helenius had used to tie his previous opponents in knots coming to the fore. But Whyte battled through a hurtful right hand in the second round to take control, winning every other session on the judge’s cards. Not every fight is going to be a war for the history books, but Whyte proved he could be victorious even in complicated circumstances.
Joseph Parker, 28th July 2018
Parker had been WBO champion as recently as three months before, when Joshua inflicted the first defeat of his career. The New Zealander had gone the distance with ‘AJ’, and he would also take Dillian the long way round.
The fight was a real struggle for both men. Parker rose from a heavy knockdown in the ninth round, before pouring the pressure on Whyte two rounds later. After ripping in some vicious combinations in the eleventh, Parker dropped Whyte in the final round. But the Jamaica-born boxer held on, and took home perhaps the biggest win of his career so far.
Alexander Povetkin II, 27th March 2021
The true greats are judged by how they overcome adversity. After spending years as a top contender for the WBC, and patiently waiting for a shot at the gold, disaster struck. Whyte was knocked out by former WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin during boxing’s pandemic foray into Eddie Hearn’s back garden.
The fight tarnished Whyte’s reputation, as his critics flocked to point out he was never a world class fighter in the first place. Dillian’s record going into the fight already made a mockery of such vitriol, but what Whyte did next underscored his credentials. Many fighters shy away from an immediate rematch with the man who has just separated them from their senses. Whyte was back in the ring with Povetkin seven months later. It took him just four rounds to right the wrong, battering the Russian into a dramatic and brutal knockout defeat.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change