Dillian Whyte claimed the WBC interim heavyweight title – and became the mandatory challenger for Deontay Wilder’s WBC heavyweight belt – after an absorbing 12-round battle with Oscar Rivas of Colombia at the O2 Arena. It was yet another fine performance by the Londoner.
Whyte took the unanimous decision 115-112 (twice) and 116-111 on the judges’ cards to inflict the first defeat on Rivas in his professional career in what was his 27th fight.
The only real scare came when “The Body Snatcher” from Brixton was downed in the ninth by a right uppercut, but he battled his way back into the round and the contest, showing great heart, and enjoying a resurgent final two rounds.
It was a compelling contest from first to last. The two men were straight at it from the opening bell, Rivas – with a Mike Tyson-esque physique; tiny waist, broad back and huge, fast muscular arms – looked to load up and land jabs with head and body attacks. However, he was staggered by a straight right as Whyte attacked in the second, though Rivas took evasive action and came back with a great jab-cum-hook of his own which stopped Whyte in his tracks.
The intense battle carried into the third stanza, both men swaying and feinting, both in the left-leading orthodox stance, their exchanges thrilling the stentorian crows. The fourth round was a close battle and the fifth the challenger’s least active. Rivas came out stronger and busier in the sixth and seventh but Whyte weathered the storm, soaking up all the pressure the visiting fighter could bring.
This was another fine victory for Whyte. By the middle of next year, Whyte will challenge for the world crown said his promoter Eddie Hearn.
Earlier, Derek Chisora brutally knocked out Polish heavyweight Artur Spilka with a second-round demolition, starting fast and very aggressively. It paid off for Chisora – now trained by David Coldwell – the popular London fighter racing out fast to stand toe-to-toe with the former world title challenger.
Tracking the visiting fighter close to his own corner in the second stanza, Chisora landed an almighty right hook which stunned Spilka and left him out on his feet, yet standing, supported upright against the ropes. The Polish fighter then had to endure three more heavy hooks from Chisora before collapsing to the floor sideways.
Spilka was immediately administered oxygen by the ringside physicians and there was concern over his wellbeing, but fortunately he was up minutes later, groggily. Promoter Hearn confirmed afterwards that Chisora will now meet former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker, of New Zealand.
Just prior to the main event, Liverpool heavyweight David Price won a one-sided stoppage against Dave Allen, dominating the bout behind his jab and powerful right hands before Allen’s trainer Darren Barker, the former middleweight world champion, pulled his fighter out after 10 rounds with the Doncaster man a long way behind on the cards and his right eye almost closed, his face having been peppered by Price all night.
Elsewhere, it was confirmed that Briton Luke Campbell will face Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko for the unified lightweight title at the O2 Arena on August 31.
Both men were ringside at the O2 on Saturday night. “I’m delighted to get this fight,” Campbell told The Sunday Telegraph. “There was a lot of strong negotiation to make the fight but I’ve been in camp already for six weeks and I can’t wait to face him.”
Lomachenko added: “Campbell has a very high boxing IQ, so it will be an interesting title defence.”