Dillian Whyte remains a “big factor” in the heavyweight division even though he may face a long wait for a first world title fight, says BBC boxing correspondent Mike Costello.
The Briton eliminated Alexander Povetkin on Saturday after suffering a brutal loss to the Russians in August.
But two fights between world champions Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury suggest another long wait for Whyte.
“It opens up a whole range of opportunities,” Costello said.
“Yes, he might have to wait for that chance at the world title, but he’s used to it.
“At least now he’s back in a position where he can trade off the back of the performance he’s produced. “
What if Joshua-Fury issues arise?
Whyte waited over three years for a WBC world heavyweight title shot that never materialized and won fans over for facing tough opponents, risking his promised title shot.
Now he’s back in the picture, but the public’s attention is on IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua facing defending champion WBC Fury in the first heavyweight boxing contest for all four belts.
A first fight of their two-fight deal is scheduled for this summer. But what if either of the men gets injured after a first fight? Would a window then open for people like Whyte?
Then there are egos and politics. If either man wins the first fight convincingly, does the pre-agreed financial split for the second fight become a sticking point? Heavy offers rarely go smoothly.
Whyte should be boring for six months
“I still believe I can beat anyone. I want the world title, ”Whyte said on Saturday.
“The ultimate goal was for Whyte to fight for the world heavyweight title,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Tonight, it was about getting his career back on track. It was a lot of pressure.
“Coming back from the knockout was not easy. We are back where we wanted to be. “
But where is Whyte going without the immediate prospect of a title fight? He both improved as a fighter and built his reputation by taking risky fights. In his post-fight interviews on Saturday, there was a subtle change in tactics, however.
Whyte suggested lightly that Hearn should offer him “an easy fight” to “make the money” and “not take so many risks” – but it’s a course that deserves serious consideration.
Former world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has been called a potential opponent, as has British heavyweight Joe Joyce, but Whyte’s comments point to the likelihood of a ‘ticking’ fight as the first drama Joshua-Fury takes place.
It seems defeat has taught him that repeated risks in the ring can come at a price.
After a knockout loss this summer and a seemingly endless training camp during the pandemic, Whyte has weathered a period of chaos and a mini-crisis.
Few would complain if he took an “easy” route for six months before assessing the landscape. Whyte has fought 12 times in less than five years, so body and mind may wish for a rest.
Wilder, Joyce, Andy Ruiz Jr, and other dangerous men aren’t what he needs now. Indeed, this risk taker’s greatest reward can materialize if he can live by being temporarily boring.
It will be a more difficult sale and almost certainly less lucrative, but it may just be a common sense move in a notoriously unpredictable sport.