Dillian Whyte is set to return this summer, but the pickings are looking pretty slim.
Eddie Hearn and Dillian Whyte are waiting on the WBC to decide on whether or not to make him the mandatory challenger for the WBC heavyweight title, but Hearn says that Whyte will fight in July, and that they’ve got a shortlist of potential opponents.
“There are probably about five options for Dillian in July. He wants to have a proper fight, even if he’s mandatory for the winner of Wilder-Breazeale. He wants to have a proper fight and that’s Dillian Whyte all over.
”The names we are looking at are all good fights and like I said, once we get that ruling, we will be pulling the trigger and making that announcement.”
At this point we run into a problem of logic: is there actually a “good fight” that Whyte can make in July?
Well, sure, of course there is, but the pickings are pretty slim, and there’s not much that’s going to get anyone excited, which is about par for the course with boxing matchmaking right now.
Here’s a list of notable fighters it definitely won’t be:
- Anthony Joshua or Jarrell Miller, who fight June 1
- Deontay Wilder or Dominic Breazeale, who fight May 18
- Tyson Fury (or, uh, Tom Schwarz), who fights June 15
- Oleksandr Usyk or Carlos Takam, who fight May 25
- Kubrat Pulev, who is sitting on an IBF mandatory, is with Top Rank, and has a whole other situation with the California commission
- Filip Hrgovic, who fights May 25
- Michael Hunter, who fights May 25
- Joe Joyce, who fights May 18
- Andy Ruiz Jr, who fights Alexander Dimitrenko on April 20
- Hughie Fury, who fights May 25
- Daniel Dubois, who fights April 27
It probably won’t be Dave Allen, Lucas Browne, or Dereck Chisora. They all fight on April 20, and Whyte has already convincingly beaten Browne, and beaten Chisora twice. I suppose Allen could turn around between April and July if he beats Browne and doesn’t suffer any significant damage.
It probably won’t be a PBC fighter, which would eliminate Luis Ortiz, Chris Arreola, Adam Kownacki, and Charles Martin, and it probably won’t be Oscar Rivas, who is with Top Rank.
What’s left, then, in, say, the BoxRec top 30?
- Alexander Povetkin, but Hearn seems to want Povetkin to face Oleksandr Usyk by the end of this year
- Joseph Parker, which would be a rematch of the July 2018 fight where Whyte got the nod but Parker came off the canvas twice to drop and nearly stop Whyte in the 12th
- Christian Hammer, who is coming off of a loss to Luis Ortiz
- Sergey Kuzmin, which could be doable, he’s been on Matchroom cards recently
- Robert Helenius, which would be a rematch of a 2017 fight that wasn’t competitive
- Agit Kabayel, who is unbeaten and holds the European title
- Johann Duhaupas, who hasn’t fought in a year since losing to Jarrell Miller
- Tomasz Adamek, who is 42 years old and was shamefully fed to Miller last October in Chicago
- Bryant Jennings, who as far as I know is still with Top Rank and is coming off of a January TKO loss to Oscar Rivas
- Artur Szpilka, who has won two straight in Poland after losing two straight in the U.S.
- Eric Molina, who has been repeatedly stopped by higher-level opponents (Arreola, Wilder, Joshua, Breazeale)
The best fights of that group would be Povetkin and Parker, obviously; maybe Kuzmin if you’re really invested in undefeated records and didn’t see him struggle with Joey Dawejko in March, or maybe Kabayel, who may want to use his status and wait for a call to face one of the big three when they get desperate for opponents again via not fighting each other.
The rest — Hammer, Helenius, Duhaupas, Adamek, Jennings, Szpilka, Molina — are all veteran also-ran types at this point in their careers. Would be tough to sell as “good,” but we’re in a world where they’re trying to sell Fury-Schwarz as good, so who knows?
And for what it’s worth, I’m not even blaming Whyte or Hearn for any of this, really. If it winds up being Whyte-Molina or something, what can you do? There are a lot of fighters just plain not available for one reason or another, and it’s unlikely that everyone on that list of those who might be available are actually willing to fight Whyte in July. It all leaves a field that just isn’t particularly attractive.