Dillian Whyte: “For Me, That Will Be My Motivation, Just Winning & Revenge.”
By Hannah Lucas
Dillian Whyte must avenge the defeat he suffered at the hands of Alexander Povetkin last August if he is to ever challenge for the world heavyweight title.
This Saturday, the two heavyweights will clash once again in Gibraltar in a bid to secure the WBC interim heavyweight title in a showdown which will be aired on Sky Sports Box Office.
The pair were originally due to reunite in a rematch on 21 November 2020, but Povetkin tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him to withdraw and their fight to be postponed.
Whyte was in a confident mood on this week’s pre-fight media Zoom call.
Mulling over Povetkin’s positive test, Whyte said: “I don’t think it currently gives me any advantage; he’s a professional, he’s a world champion, an Olympic gold medallist, and he’s got money. He doesn’t need to fight. If he’s not fit and he’s not well, then he wouldn’t be taking the fight.
“But it’s a good excuse saying he’s ill with the coronavirus. I gave him enough time for him to recover when he said he had Covid. I want to fight the best Povetkin I can fight, so I let him have the time to recover.
“They’re the ones that planned this date, they wanted to fight on 6 March. I said, ‘make the date for whenever you’re ready.’ Clearly he wasn’t ready and his team wouldn’t put him at risk if he wasn’t.”
When asked, ‘is this an excuse in readiness if he loses?’ Whyte replied: “Exactly, exactly, exactly.”
After suffering several setbacks to their rematch, it has been crucial for Whyte to maintain high levels of motivation. “It’s been frustrating, but it’s been the thought of victory and revenge and avenging my loss that’s motivating me, because I’m a person who doesn’t like losing. For me, it’s all about winning, whatever I do. So, for me, that will be my motivation, just winning and revenge,” he said.
“I was ready to go in November. We dust off our loss, we regroup, we go straight back in again, that’s my mindset.”
However, this time, he now has a new team behind him, including Harold Knight and his reputation of plotting and achieving revenge, most famously for Lennox Lewis.
“He’s been around the best ever British heavyweight of all time his whole career, he’s got that experience, that bit of wisdom. Him and Xavier Miller both compliment each other and they both build each-others confidence. When Xavier comes up with a plan, they agree on it, then they work on it.
“But I’m a different kind of guy to Lennox Lewis, I just get on with it. I don’t care or worry about what he does. We’ve seen guys come up from defeat and its nothing, it’s all about your mindset and how you are as a person. So, Saturday for me, you guys will see,” Whyte said.
With the ‘Rumble On The Rock’ creeping ever closer and his loss to the ‘Russian Vityaz’ still on the tips of the public’s tongues heading into their rematch, Whyte is adamant that his shock defeat has not affected him psychologically.
“Since I was a child I’ve been forced to be a warrior, I’ve been a warrior from an early age. I was forced to struggle from an early age, I was forced to suffer from an early age and forced to survive from an early age. So that’s what I’ve learnt to do, unfortunately.
“A loss in the ring is nothing compared to the things I’ve been through in life. I’ve had assassination attempts, people trying to kill you, shoot you, stab you. I’ve been through a lot of things in life.
“I’ve had two losses in 29 fights. For me I shouldn’t even be where I am, because I haven’t had any amateur grounding, no background, no top promoters behind me for a long time. I’ve come up through the weight division. We readjust, we go again and get the revenge.”
Last year, the ‘Body Snatcher’ chalked off his 1000th day as the WBC’s number one challenger and a bout with Deontay Wilder seemed inevitable, but Whyte never got a shot at the WBC heavyweight title.
If he were to be victorious on Saturday, Whyte said: “They (WBC) better f acknowledge me, I’ve waited long enough. My situation is still going on.
“The winner of this fight should be mandatory in line for the title fight next, hopefully, I don’t have to wait a thousand days again.
“Boxing’s a changed sport. You can be mandatory, you can be number one, you can do whatever and still not get a title shot, because if you’re dangerous, you’re dangerous and guys will avoid you. I’m the kind of guy that can throw a spanner in the works for the big fights, because I can knock someone out.
“I should be number three heavyweight in the world and I should get the title shot this time.”
Nevertheless, Whyte’s desire to challenge for that heavyweight title is still burning just as bright. When asked whether he would still be up for a title shot, he said: “Of course. Look how long I’ve been mandatory, how long I’ve been number one, how many top guys I’ve fought. So, why should them guys get a shot before me? Who has Usyk beaten at heavyweight? Only Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora. I’ve been fighting top heavyweights for years.”
With Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury set to battle it out for the undisputed heavyweight title in the summer and with the possibility that every other fighter in the division may be tied up, Whyte would still be game for taking on Wilder. He said: “Listen if the fans want to see it and it makes sense, then I’m all about that. Parker promised to fight me as world champion, didn’t fight me, Fury promised to fight me as world champion, didn’t fight me, Wilder was meant to fight me when he was world champion, didn’t fight me. When those guys lose, they’re all trying to fight me and that’s just, it is what it is.”
But, with the task-in-hand currently at the forefront of his mind, Whyte has been focussing on sizing up the competition.
“Povetkin’s a big puncher, he’s up there, he’s knocked a lot of people out. He’s a very dangerous puncher, just look at his record, he’s knocked out most people he’s fought. I’m not easily knocked out and I got knocked out by him.
“He’s a big puncher, but obviously in every division you have them. I’d say Wilder’s probably at number one, Joshua’s number two and the rest, I don’t know.”
Being a fighter at heart, Whyte has also toyed with the possibility of going to UFC and revealed that ‘of course’ he would be up for taking on new challenges in the Octagon. He said: “I’m one of the only boxers that’s fought MMA before.
“Listen, I’m a warrior, I’ll fight any style there is. If I get paid and it’s legal, I’ll fight whatever style you want, if you want to fight in a field, as long as I don’t get in trouble.”
With fight night looming, many fans will be speculating on what Whyte may have changed this time round stepping into the ring with Povetkin and how he plans to avenge his loss tactically, but he refused to give anything away.
“You’ll have to wait till Saturday. We’re about to fight and there’s a lot of people watching what I’m doing, what I’m saying, and what I’m saying is, we’re about to go to war.”