Despite being the WBC mandatory for the best part of two years, an opportunity to wrest the most coveted belt in the heavyweight division from the clutches of long-time champion Deontay Wilder has thus far managed to evade Britain’s Dillian Whyte, much to his apparent chagrin.
The word ‘opportunity’, however, is a contentious one, especially if you speak to the Bronze Bomber himself.
The American is much more likely to flirt with words such as ‘excuse’ and ‘duck’ when discussing the Jamaican born Whyte, who he insists has had myriad opportunities to take his shot at the title, and balked at the chance at every turn.
Talking to World Boxing News, Wilder described how he believes that Whyte has evaded him on as many as four separate occasions and only has himself to blame for failing to land his dream fight.
“I told him (Whyte) to sign with the PBC (Premier Boxing Champions) when he came from over here network shopping or whatever he was over here doing,” said Wilder.
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“So I told him, ‘yeah just sign with us, a one-fight deal. Then no problem we’ll get that fight on
“‘We can get it on, I’ll give you that shot’. But that was one time – STRIKE.”
Strike number two followed shortly after, according to Wilder.
“Then I told him to fight Luis Ortiz. ‘You fight him and you got my word, you got me’ – I said. And everybody knows when I speak, that’s my word, that’s my bond and I don’t go back on it.
“What did he do? He didn’t want to fight him – STRIKE TWO.”
How did Whyte suffer a third strike you ask? Well that came when he passed on a fight with Cuba’s Luis Ortiz for a second time despite being ordered to by the WBC, according to Wilder.
“Then the WBC came and ordered him to fight Ortiz, they ORDERED him to, and he didn’t want the fight – that’s STRIKE THREE.”
Despite both Ortiz and Whyte calling each other out and engaging in a mini war-of-words, Whyte opted to rematch Dereck Chisora in October last year rather than duke it out with Ortiz, despite fighting the Cuban being a stipulation put forward by Wilder for a shot at the WBC belt.
Strike four? Perhaps predictably the most tenuous of Wilder’s accusations, the final nail in Whyte’s coffin apparently came when promotor Eddie Hearn failed to offer Whyte up as a precursor to the Bronze Bomber getting his shot at recently defeated long-time rival Anthony Joshua.
“I said, ‘If you give me Dillian then put Joshua on (straight after in the next fight)’. So that’s a solid STRIKE FOUR there.”
Blaming Hearn for not guaranteeing a shot at Joshua is arguably a little weak given that Joshua clearly intends to avenge his first career loss at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr.
But Wilder’s words gain more credence when Whyte’s recent opposition have been so dubious; since losing to Anthony Joshua in 2015, Whyte has faced the likes of Robert Helenius, Lucas Browne, Malcolm Tann and Ian Lewison.
Hardly the crème-de-la-crème of the heavyweight division.
An exciting fight against Chisora and a satisfactory performance against former title challenger Joseph Parker have kept Whyte’s name in the upper echelons of the rankings, but has done little to encourage either Wilder or Joshua to lose sleep at the prospect of facing him.
While the tit for tat nature of boxing politics makes it notoriously difficult to discern the bad guy from the good, the ducker from the ducked, it is incumbent of Whyte to do whatever he can to goad his nemesis into fighting him, and swallowing some pride and jumping through a hoop or two may be the only road to his long awaited shot at the WBC belt and Wilder