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Dillian Whyte to fight on July 21 at O2 in London

Kubrat Pulev

By Jim Dower: Dillian Whyte says he’s going to be fighting next on July 21 at the O2 Arena in London, England. The frontrunner for the fight is former heavyweight world title challenger Kubrat Pulev in an IBF heavyweight title eliminator.

Whyte (23-1, 17 KOs) is coming off of a 6th round knockout win over former WBA World heavyweight champion Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne on March 24 at the O2. Whyte, 29, immediately called out WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin after his win, but neither of them has shown any interest in taking the fight.

Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn reportedly made a $4 million offer to Wilder to fight Whyte, but there was no response. Hearn also spoke of wanting to match Whyte against Povetkin, but that offer was not accepted by the Russian fighter. He wants his world title shot against IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua rather than taking on another heavyweight.

Povetkin fought David Price on March 31 on the undercard of Joshua’s fight with WBO heavyweight belt holder Joseph Parker in Cardiff, Wales. Povetkin was already the WBA mandatory challenger to Joshua at the time, and he really didn’t need to take the fight with Price, but he did it anyway. But when it came to fighting Whyte, Povetkin wasn’t interested. He obviously fought Price, so he doesn’t need to keep jumping through hopes to get the Joshua fight.

Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) has been looking good in winning his last five fights since his 5th round stoppage loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. Since that time, the 36-year-old Povetkin has put together wins over Dereck Chisora, George Arias, Kevin Johnson, Samuel peter, Maurice Harris. Pulev looked good in all of those fights. It might be a different story when he gets inside the ring with Whyte. We’ll have to see. Whyte isn’t a big puncher, and he doesn’t have as good of a jab as Pulev.

If Whyte tries to get in a jabbing contest with Pulev, he could wind up on the losing end. But with the fight being staged in the UK, it might be hard for Pulev to win a decision. It’s too bad the contest couldn’t be staged in a neutral venue where there was a better chance to avoid controversy. Whyte was given a controversial 12 round decision two years ago in his fight against Chisora. Pulev did a better job of beating Chisora than Whyte did. Whyte appeared to lose the fight, but he was still given a win.

Whyte is ranked #1 with the World Boxing Council. He wants a world title shot against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, but the American has no interest in facing him. Hearn was counting on the WBC making Whyte the mandatory for Wilder, but that hasn’t happened yet. So, instead of waiting for another year or two for a fight with Wilder, Whyte decided to go the IBF route to try and become the mandatory for Joshua.


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