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Tarver accepts Dillian Whyte’s challenge

Antonio Tarver

By Scott Gilfoid: Former undisputed light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver (31-6-1, 22 KOs) has accepted the invitation by British heavyweight Dillian Whyte (17-1, 14 KOs) to come over to the UK and fight him.

The southpaw Tarver, 47, says he’ll come over to the UK and shut Whyte up. Whyte has a fight coming up this month on July 30 at the First Direct Arena in Leeds. It’s a good gamble on Tarver’s part in taking the Whyte fight, because if he whips him, then he’ll be in a great position for a big payday title shot against IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn, who promotes both Joshua and Whyte, would almost surely match him against Tarver in one of those avenge type of fights. I don’t think Tarver can beat Joshua, but I do think he beats Whyte to get to the Joshua fight.

Whyte still doesn’t have an opponent for that date. Tarver didn’t say whether he’ll agree to fight Whyte on that date. I seriously doubt that Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn would give him the green light to fight an experienced, highly talented – and healthy – pro like Tarver with just three weeks’ notice.

It would be too easy for Tarver, because the 28-year-old Whyte is coming off shoulder surgery and he doesn’t appear to have regained the use of his left shoulder. Besides that, Whyte looked fat and out of shape for his last fight on June 25 against Ivica Bacurin last month on the Anthony Joshua vs. Dominic Breazeale card at the O2 Arena in London, UK.

Whyte was throwing only right hands in that fight. Whyte’s left arm was like a vestigial structure, and almost totally useless. Whyte wasn’t using his left hardly at all, and it just seemed to be something that he carried around the ring. Almost everything Whyte threw were right hands, and not altogether powerful looking shots.

Whyte told that he’ll “mash him to pieces” in speaking about Tarver. I don’t know about that. It was all Whyte could do to stop journeyman Bacurin last June. That was a really hard fight for Whyte. Bacurin was easily eluding Whyte and making him look bad.

“I heard his interview,” said Tarver to about Whyte’s interview where he mentioned wanting to fight him. “Obviously Dillian feels confident in himself and his ability. I think the fight makes sense for me. I’ll come over to the UK and let everybody know that I’m serious business about what I say and what I plan on accomplishing.”

Oh boy, Whyte better hope that Tarver isn’t serious about wanting to come over to the UK anytime soon, because I think that would be really bad for Whyte if he does. Unless Tarver has put on a lot of weight and is out of shape, I think he’ll easily take Whyte’s scalp on July 30 and give him his second loss. If Hearn lets Whyte take the fight with Tarver, I see this ending really badly for Whyte. It’s a bad match-up for him right now because Tarver is so technically sound in every part of his game. It doesn’t matter that he’s about to turn 48 and is fighting two divisions above his best weight class of 175, I still see Tarver as a much better fighter than Whyte.

I don’t think it would be fair to Whyte to fight someone as good as Tarver fight now. I mean, Whyte needs to slowly rehab his surgically repaired left shoulder to see if he can regain the full use and power that he once had. Right now, I think Whyte only has a fraction of the use of his left shoulder.

If you watch his last fight against Bacurin, Whyte initially used his left shoulder a little bit in the first two rounds, but then he stopped using his arm at all for the remainder of the fight. It was interesting that the Sky commentators failed to mention that Whyte was fighting with just one-arm. How could they not bring it up because it was so obvious, and so sad to watch. Whyte has been one of my favorite fighters, but he doesn’t look like the same guy he once was right now.

“I want to come to the UK, shut Dillian Whyte down and get one step closer to Anthony Joshua,” said Tarver.

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