Dillian Whyte has spent more than a year waiting for a chance to be called the mandatory challenger to the WBC heavyweight title and has now done so.
After a grueling 12 rounds, Whyte survived a strong comeback from Oscar Rivas to win the interim WBC heavyweight title. Whyte won the fight, which headlined a Matchroom Boxing card from The O2 Arena in London, by unanimous decision with scores of (115-112, 115-112, 116-111).
Whyte landed the bigger punches throughout the fight and almost stopped Rivas in the second round with a series of punches that hurt Rivas. Whyte continued attacking Rivas with devastating right hands, including a right uppercut that split his opponent’s guard.
Rivas had arguably his best work at the start of the seventh round up to that point when he landed a number of big shots with Whyte up against the ropes. Whyte eventually escaped from the early trouble and continued to land body shots at will. Rivas turned things around early in the ninth round by dropping Whyte in the corner with a right uppercut of his own. Once Whyte got back up, Rivas further pressured Whyte and landed a left hook upstairs that almost knocked him down again. Whyte recovered and survived the remaining rounds as Rivas tried to be the aggressor and force another knockdown.
Although Whyte may be the interim titleholder and the mandatory challenger to Deontay Wilder’s WBC heavyweight championship, Whyte might not get that opportunity at a full world title anytime soon. Wilder is likely headed towards a rematch against Luis Ortiz before the end of the year and then a potential rematch against Tyson Fury in early 2020.
The main event was the first of three straight heavyweight fights featuring British stars. The co-main event saw David Price end Dave Allen’s current win streak with a corner stoppage after 10 rounds. Allen was unable to find a way to chip away at Price on the inside as Price use his significant height advantage and jab work to outbox the younger Allen.
As for the other heavyweight bout on the card, veteran Derek Chisora scored a vicious stoppage win over former title challenger Artur Szpilka. Chisora hurt Szpilka in the second round with a clubbing right hand, followed by a couple of body shots and then another right hand that knocked out Szpilka for good. It was Chisora’s second straight win since a December 2018 loss to Whyte.