For The Record is a series that discusses a boxer’s five most recent opponents, and explores what progress those opponents have made since facing them.
This time we look at Dillian Whyte, who’s crude yet confrontational style has brought him back to within touching distance of a world title shot. The article does not cover Lucas Browne, Whyte’s impressive recent win, as obviously Browne has not fought since.
- David Allen – 30th July 2016 (W UD 10)
Allen went into this fight an undefeated but untested underdog. Whyte, rebuilding momentum since the Anthony Joshua defeat, switched between southpaw and orthodox to fire sharp jabs and uppercuts through Allen’s guard, while Allen, try as he might, couldn’t quite negate the distance between them. He has since enjoyed mixed results; a 7th round knockout loss to Cuban bogeyman Luis Ortiz was followed by two knockout wins, setting up a Commonwealth clash against Jamaican southpaw Lenroy Thomas. He lost a contentious split decision, but a knockout win over Tom Dallas last July set up the rematch for early March, which was stopped on cuts before the first round was over. Unfinished business at Commonwealth level for the Yorkshire heavyweight.
- Ian Lewison – 7th October 2016 (W RTD 7)
Lewison, who had only been beyond 5 rounds once (in his debut 7 years prior), knew his best chance of defeating Whyte was by stopping him early. He tried to do just that, and managed to keep matters competitive but always came off worse in the exchanges. An inspired effort unravelled in the 10th, when a broken nose and vicious body shots prompted his corner to pull him out. This loss looked like it had retired Lewison, until he re-appeared a year later to be beaten by amateur star Joe Joyce in his debut. At 36 and reportedly suffering a broken ankle, jaw and nose against the Rio silver medallist, we may have seen the last of the Brixton man in a prize ring.
- Dereck Chisora – 10th December 2016 (W SD 12)
Warfare. The self-styled bad boys clashed in the build up, making it clear they positively detested one another. This smacked of the usual beef for promotional purposes, until the fight itself proved it to be genuine hatred. Chisora won the first half, and Whyte won the second in a back-and-forth fight-of-the-year contest, with Whyte taking a split decision victory that left Chisora’s reputation wholly intact. This may, however, prove to be his last moment of glory. A knockout win last September over unknown Robert Filipovic was followed by a poor performance against European champion Agit Kabayel in Monaco (boxing ‘s home of poor performances) in what was supposed to re-establish him as a front runner in an exciting division. The loss has put him at a crossroads, and with a couple of formal announcements falling through at the 11th hour, it appears he will be there for a little while yet.
- Malcolm Tann – 19th August 2017 – (W TKO 3)
A move to America. Whyte, now ranked by the WBC, had become a potential opponent for champion Deontay Wilder, and Hearn matched him on a card in the USA to drum up interest in a Wilder – Whyte clash with the winner to face Anthony Joshua in a UK stadium. The fight didn’t happen (not yet at least) but Whyte still kept his part of the deal by devouring Malcolm Tann in 3 one sided rounds. Dropped twice in both the 2nd and 3rd, the American has now drifted back into relative obscurity, but has enjoyed a win since doing so, against the little-heard of Ernest Reyna, winning the little-heard of USBC title in the process. He has faced some of the divisions better known names in his 25-6 fight career, including Chris Arreola, Alexander Dimitrenko and now Whyte. He has however been stopped by all of them, and this, coupled with a 9 year break from the sport mid-career, probably means future bouts against such names are unlikely for the 39 year old, who has made a valuable contribution to the sport nonetheless.
- Robert Helenius – 28th October 2017 – (W UD 12)
Don’t let the naysayers fool you: Robert Helenius is a good European level heavyweight, who has enjoyed wins over other good heavyweights (knockout wins over Samuel Peter and Siarhei Liakhovich stand out). Stepping in with just over a week’s notice and injuring his hand halfway through the fight, Helenius made do with stifling the advances made by the Londoner, who was forced to jab-and-rush his way to a points win. Helenius, with greater preparation and no injuries, would have made this a far more interesting affair than it was. He may yet work his way into a rematch; he returns against gatekeeping Belarusian Yury Bykhautsou over 8 rounds on the 17th of March.
VERDICT: Whyte has generally been mixing with a good standard of heavyweight boxers since the infamous Anthony Joshua defeat. The stunning victory against Lucas Browne on March 24th was a big step up, and paves the way for a proper introduction to world level contests.