Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte has hooked up with legendary trainer Buddy McGirt in a bid to rebuild his career. ‘Bodysnatcher’ lost to Tyson Fury in a challenge for the WBC and The Ring heavyweight titles in April. While that sixth-round stoppage defeat at Wembley Stadium took place just five months ago, Whyte returns to a division that has changed a lot since he last fought. Where does ‘The Villain’ fit into this brave new world?
Hiring McGirt feels like a sensible step. The former two-weight world champion has steered several illustrious world champions, including Arturo Gatti, Antonio Tarver, Paulie Malignaggi and Sergey Kovalev. McGirt also steers the careers of former super middleweight king Callum Smith and unbeaten WBO middleweight Janibek Alimkhanuly. In short, if you’re good enough then Buddy will get you there. He replaces Xavier Miller, who has worked with Team Whyte since 2019.
Whyte will move to California to plot his comeback. It will be the third time he has had to rebuild from a defeat but this time feels different. Losing to Anthony Joshua in 2015 was a wake-up call and Whyte knew ‘AJ’ would be rushed through to world level with no thought given to a rematch. While Joshua beat Charles Martin to become IBF champion in his very next fight, Whyte would next appear against Ivica Bacurin in an eight-rounder.
When Whyte was shockingly KO’ed in Eddie Hearn’s garden during the height of pandemic boxing weirdness, the route back was clearer. At 41 and having already lost world championship challenges to Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko, there was no clamour for Povetkin to get a title shot. This meant a convenient serving of revenge for Whyte, who knocked the Russian out six months after their first meeting.
But this time there is no clear path to redemption. Whyte’s disappointing showing against Tyson Fury was far from worthy of a rematch. Even if it were, British boxing is currently locked in the on-again-off-again soap opera of ‘The Gypsy King’ potentially meeting Joshua. But revenge is still on the mind of ‘The Villain’. If Fury/’AJ’ doesn’t happen, Whyte has offered to step in and fight Joshua instead. It would be a huge fight in this country, even if admittedly not on the scale as the proposed Fury-Joshua match.
Another potential option is the man of the moment Joe Joyce. ‘Juggernaut’ is riding high off a knockout win over Joseph Parker in his first pay-per-view headliner. Joyce proceeded to call out almost every living heavyweight in his post-fight comments. Whyte was one of them, with Joyce calling a potential fight with the Jamaica-born star as “a car crash” and “a war”. As comeback fights go this would be ridiculously difficult for Whyte, but he has built a reputation as a fighter who never shirks a challenge. ‘The Villain’ has faced six former or future world champions in his career, the same amount as Joshua and more than Fury.
A lot can happen in five months. Fury has retired and come back three times since Whyte last fought. Joshua lost to Usyk and entered talks with Fury. Joyce had his coming out party, Daniel Dubois picked up the WBA ‘regular’ belt, Andy Ruiz Jr beat Luis Ortiz and Deontay Wilder announced his comeback against Robert Helenius. In less than half a year, the complexion of the heavyweight division has changed. Armed with Buddy McGirt, Whyte must now find out where he fits in.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change