THE stakes are high for Dillian Whyte when he boxes Lucas Browne on March 24 at the O2 in London. Victory would put the Brixton man on course for the winner of the Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz WBC heavyweight title fight.
Whyte said, “It’s whether Deontay Wilder wants it or not. We’ve offered him a lot of money before and he’s just completely ignored the fight. He’s trying to chase [Anthony] Joshua because he doesn’t want to take any chances unless it’s for megabucks. We’ll see: the main thing is, win this fight and I’ve got so much options. We’ll go after a world title, rematches, or we’ll just keep fighting. Everything depends on winning the Browne fight.”
Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn said, “I had a meeting with Stephen Espinoza [head of Showtime] last week, talking about AJ, and the landscape, and there is real appetite for Wilder to fight the winner of that fight [Whyte-Browne], if they don’t make the AJ fight next. I can see the AJ fight happening towards the end of the year; I would love to get that fight in the interim, perhaps June or July, and the general consensus is Wilder’s run out of opponents. He’s also costing the network a lot of money, so if we can relieve some of that pressure and put him in with the right guy, I would love to make that fight. They’re going to make him [Whyte] mandatory sooner or later: he’s number one with the WBC.”
Whyte gave his view of Wilder-Ortiz: “It’s a really good fight, but there’s two problems for Luis Ortiz. At the top level he’s been inactive for the past two or three years; Wilder’s been very active, he might not have fought top guys but they’ve still been decent guys with decent records. The second problem is he’s got to be about 1,000 years old. When you look at it, he has very good skills and very good punching power, but I just think his inactivity’s going to be his downfall. He stands a very good chance because Deontay Wilder can’t take a punch; technically Luis Ortiz seems to be a bit more together, and a bit closer and sharper than Deontay Wilder, but the man [Wilder] does have the equaliser, so we’ll see.”
Whyte questions Wilder’s punch resistance because he’s witnessed him being hurt in sparring. “I’ve seen Wilder spar, seen him get knocked out in sparring before, but I don’t tell sparring stories. I saw him get dropped in sparring before, but sparring’s sparring. Marvin Hagler used to get dropped in sparring a lot; Mike Tyson got dropped in sparring,” Whyte said.
“In sparring you’re working on things, trying things. You hear stories about people getting knocked out in sparring, but when it actually comes to the fight, it’s a whole different story. You’ve got 18oz gloves on; when you’ve got 10oz gloves on, you’re psyched up. It [sparring] makes no difference.”