BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Dillian Whyte added the WBO international title to his WBC silver belt on Saturday – then admitted he was ready for a Wembley showdown with Anthony Joshua in April.
The Brixton heavyweight was a unanimous points winner over Joshua Parker at Greenwich’s 02 Arena at the weekend.
But that does not tell anywhere near the whole story.
Parker was knocked down twice in the contest – showing huge resilience to climb up from a brutal left hook in the ninth round – but then had the South Londoner in all kinds of trouble right at the end of the contest.
Whyte took his own count from referee Ian John Lewis and was clinging on to his Kiwi opponent in the closing stages.
He got the verdict by 114-111, 115-110 and 113-112.
Whyte may soon get the chance to avenge his only defeat on a 25-fight professional record if he lands a rematch with Joshua.
The Watford man puts his four world title belts on the line against mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin on September 22 at Wembley – but is also contracted to fight again at the national stadium on April 13.
Whyte was asked who he wanted next after becoming the first man to knock down Parker, who lost a wide unanimous verdict to Joshua in March.
“I know what you want me to say,” he responded. “I don’t care. Whoever man – [Deontay] Wilder, Joshua. If I fight one of them two I’m going to have to wait until April. We need a fight in the meantime because I’m still learning and I still need to get a bit sharper, get my weight back down a little bit.
“If Joshua wants it in April, he can have it.”
Whyte felt the way he managed to recover from late adversity against Parker shows he has learned from that knockout defeat to Joshua.
“The last time I got tagged I tried to fight back and I got stopped,” he said. “This time I got tagged and I took a knee.
“I’m not experienced, at all. I’ve had 30 or 31 fights all together. I got a lot of junkyard dog in me and sometimes the dog says fight, fight, fight. I have to control that, take the knee and you can come back.
“I was a bit buzzed [when he went to the canvas]. I’ve sparred all the top fighters but this is my first big show and there is mental pressure which drained me a little bit.
“He [Parker] seemed to be half an inch away all the time.
“I’m a savage. I will always get up and fight on. There is something inside me that takes a lot to put away.”
Whyte and Joshua are both promoted by Eddie Hearn. The powerful fight figure has been trying for some time to get WBC king Wilder to defend against Whyte.
And he reckons Joshua-Whyte is a far more straightforward one to make. Wilder has only spoken about an interest in facing Joshua, but could be forced to take on Whyte if he is his mandatory challenger.
Hearn said: “That fight [Joshua-Whyte] is always going to happen. It’s inevitable. AJ wants it and Dillian wants it. Now it is about the interim fight. Is it Deontay Wilder, Dereck Chisora or Jarrell Miller? Or do we go over to the States and have a 12-rounder in New York or LA?
“He is number one with the WBC and WBO. But if the heavyweight championships are tied up you have got to stay active, be in relevant fights and earning money – Dillian is doing all of those.”
Whyte reckons he will come in lighter in his next bout, labelling his last training camp as “hell”.
He tipped the scales at Friday’s weigh-in at 18st 6lbs 9ozs, over a stone more than Parker.
“I had a lot of setbacks in this camp but I’m a warrior. I never complain. I just do what I do and find a way to win. There were a couple of times I didn’t think I’d even make it to the fight, there were a lot of issues.
“We thought let’s just just get fit, try and move the weight as effectively and efficiently as we can – not stripping down too much. It’s easy to strip down to look good on the scales but then take something away from your performance.
“All of these tough fights, I have always fought out of my skin. When the chips have been down I have rolled the dice.
“I don’t want no easy fights, I don’t really get up for them. I need that challenge.”
There were also wins on the undercard for two other South London boxers.
Joshua Buatsi had no problems winning his title as he knocked out Andrejs Pokumeiko to collect the vacant WBA international light-heavyweight title.
Croydon’s Buatsi is 7-0 since quitting the GB amateur scene.
And he earned rave reviews from promoter Hearn. He said: “What you’re watching is the best prospect in boxing.
“He is very, very special. He is so composed and humble – you could see from this performance after the first bell that he was ready for this step up.
“He will be headlining at The 02 very soon.”
Walworth cruiserweight Richard Riakporhe moved his record to seven victories – six inside the distance – with a stoppage of Derby journeyman Elvis Dube (7-64-2).
MAIN DILLIAN WHYTE PICTURE BY NATALIE MAYHEW/BUTTERFLY BOXING
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