Dillian Whyte revealed his inspiration behind victory over Oscar Rivas last night to become mandatory challenger to the WBC heavyweight belt currently held by Deontay Wilder - to prove his promoter Eddie Hearn wrong.
"I'm always being written off and even my own promoter said I would get knocked out by Rivas," said Whyte who took an unanimous decision 115-112 (twice) and 116-111 on the judges' cards at the O2 Arena and inflicted a first defeat on the Colombian in his 27th contest.
"So, as usual I went out there and proved him, and everyone else wrong. I've beaten world champions, former world champions and the rising undefeated stars of the division. All that is happening is that I'm sharpening my tools ready for those big fights," explained Whyte.
'The Body Snatcher' from Brixton was certainly smart in this fight against the physicality, speed and tenacity of the shorter man, and showed no lack of cojones after recovering from a ninth-round knockdown. Overall, though, Whyte becomes more accomplished with every fight, and this one was one of the most physical the 31-year-old has found himself in.
"Of course I love to get in a toe-to-toe fight, I'm a street fighter, but at this level, and at this stage in my career, I have to stick to the gameplan," added Whyte. The strategy hatched by trainer Mark Tibbs and Whyte certainly worked for Rivas, with plenty of movement, behind long straight punches, punctuated by attacking the body.
Hearn conceded: "Dillian gets better with every fight, and he showed beyond any doubt how much he wants it at this level. We want to keep him busy as he prepares for the world title next year, but I don't think anyone would disagree if he got an easy fight to stay busy while he waits for his opportunity to fight for the belt."
Whyte is likely to fight once more late this year, before going into a long camp ahead of a showdown for the WBC crown next May or June, said Hearn.
The heavyweights were out in force on the O2 Arena card, with Dereck Chisora undeniable once again, rocketing himself back into the spotlight with a brutal second-round knockout of former world title challenger Artur Spilka, of Poland.
A bustling, aggressive start to the fight from Chisora, normally a slow starter, saw Spilka caught by a sickening right hook, which had the visiting fighter out on his feet, before the Finchley fighter thrice thumped his foe who fell heavily to the ring canvas. "I'm not the guy interested in the belts any more," said Chisora. "I'm the moneyweight fighter of the heavyweight division."
Dave Allen announced what appeared to be his retirement from boxing after being taken to hospital after collapsing in the wake of his defeat to David Price.
Allen required oxygen in the ring and was ferried out of the arena in a wheelchair. Allen, 27, who has been resurgent in his last four contests in 12 months, had to absorb huge punishment from the 6ft 9ins tall Price, who was at his very best in busting up the Doncaster man.
Trainer Darren Barker made the wise decision of pulling his exhausted fighter out of the contest on his stool, at the end of the 10th round. Allen, who was cleared medically afterwards, explained on social media later from hospital, that his health had been deteriorating in the last 18 months.
"Don’t want anyone to worry about me, just a hard man gone old and soft the last 18 months, very happy and proud of David Price. I will be okay but the last 12 months or so, my health has been deteriorating and I’m glad I hung on took the chance and made money and now probably done."
Elsewhere, Andy Ruiz Jr revealed that talks have stalled for the world heavyweight title rematch with Anthony Joshua over the location of the contest. "We’re still in negotiations, they [are] trying to make us go over there," said the Mexican-American who took the WBO, IBF and WBA belts from the Briton in New York on June by a seventh-round stoppage.
"They are trying to get it back here in New York. I’d be more comfortable here," explained Ruiz, who also disclosed aspirations to face World Boxing Council champion Deontay Wilder. "Me and him (Deontay Wilder) we’re in the same team, I just got to beat Anthony Joshua and then we’ll move onto the next.’