By Jake Donovan
Dillian Whyte continues to find it easier to land fights through social media than in the ring, where it actually counts.
The top-rated heavyweight contender from England remains locked in for a July 20 showdown versus unbeaten Oscar Rivas but seemingly can’t step away from his long-running verbal feud with undefeated countryman Tyson Fury. The two have traded plenty of words—but unfortunately, no punches—through the years, more so in recent times following a request from the World Boxing Council (WBC) to meet in a final eliminator.
The winner of such a bout would become the mandatory challenger to undefeated titlist Deontay Wilder, with whom Fury fought to a 12-round draw and is currently on course to rematch in the first quarter of 2020.
Both sides have assigned blame as to why the fight has little chance of happening—at least in the order preferred by the WBC—although Fury (28-0-1, 20KOs) has taken tremendous pride as of late in contributing to Whyte (25-1, 18KOs) being frozen out of the title picture.
“Dillian Whyte… you ain’t getting a WBC title shot. 500 days, is it, at the mandatory position,” Fury quipped [Writer’s note: it’s actually more than 600 days]. “Still can’t get a title shot and I’ve tied Wilder up for f*****g two fights, mush.
“We’re gonna fight February 22 [Writer’s note: since refuted] and then there’s a rematch clause, a trilogy, so it doesn’t look like he’s gonna get his shot.”
Fury’s flair for stirring up the pot actually carries weight with some of his outlandish claims. Whyte has managed eight straight wins since a Dec. 2015 knockout loss to countryman Anthony Joshua when both were still unbeaten rising contenders. The Jamaica-born heavyweight has surfaced to the top of the heavyweight rankings amongst the WBC and WBO, yet still can’t get either sanctioning body to mandate a title fight.
Not at all helping matters any, is the WBC allowing Fury to fast forward to a second fight with Wilder without entering a first fight with Whyte.
“Listen Tyson Fury, I am not hard to find,” shot back the 31-year old contender through his social media account. “Gang gang, look me up mate. You are the one who called it on and then you p****d out when the WBC gave you what you asked for.
“I’m sick and tired of all this talking, come find me. Last time we were in a boxing together, you were on your a***, so stop talking s*** right now.”
Of course, it all remains words while both have other matters to tend to in the interim.
Whyte fights for the first time in 2019, last seen rallying to score a highlight-reel 10th round knockout of Dereck Chisora in their thrilling slugfest last December. His upcoming clash versus Rivas (26-0, 18KOs) materialized after failed plans to secure a rematch with then-unbeaten titlist Joshua earlier this year.
With a growing collection of fights that remain limited to verbal warfare, the top-rated contender chooses to focus on the ones that actually mean something on his résumé.
At least for now.
“I’ve got Rivas to focus on,” notes Whyte. “[After July 20], I will fight you anywhere, anytime – in or out of the ring.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox