Dillian ‘The Villain’ is an interesting moniker for Dillian Whyte. The imposing 6’3”, heavyweight boxer doesn’t come across as villainous at all when we meet inside a packed, humid boxing studio in Miguel’s Gym.
If anything, Whyte appears to be in a genial mood as he lifts some ridiculously heavy-looking weights with ease. His daunting workout concludes with repetitions of lifting a rope weighted down by disc plates with his teeth. A form of neck-weighted exercises practiced by Thai boxing experts. But then Whyte (aged 26) is a former kickboxer.
It’s been a hectic four months for the London-born fighter following his competitive return to the ring. A doping ban that put the brakes on his promising career recently came to an end. He insists the two-year ban, linked to a prohibited dietary supplement ingredient, was a misunderstanding.
“It’s common knowledge that it was a substance in an energy drink supplement I bought. At one stage the substance contained in the drink wasn’t prohibited at all”, says Whyte.
“It was only banned because a female competitor had an accident at a marathon event. Originally my suspension was only meant to be four to six months, but then it was extended to two years. I owned up to the situation and never wasted anytime or beat around the bush. I thought to myself this is another test, and another trial in my life that I need to overcome to become a better person and a better fighter. I knew that I wanted to comeback better than I was before I left”.
You might expect Whyte to be a bit rusty after such a long spell away from competitive, professional boxing . However four knockouts in five bouts, including a two-round demolition of Brazil’s Marcelo Luis Nascimento, may suggest otherwise.
“Fighting Marcelo Nascimento was good because it was a tough step up for me in class”, says Whyte. “I knocked him out in two rounds and nobody has ever knocked him out in two rounds before. It took Tyson Fury six rounds to defeat him. It took Joseph Parker and few of the other top guys more than two rounds to beat him. To stop him in two was good. The four fights I have had recently have all been knockouts”.
Whyte’s return to winning ways has not gone unnoticed by some of the powers that be in British boxing. Tomorrow evening, the Brixton bruiser will get the chance to showcase his skills on ITV’s first, televised fight night in seven years. Ahead of an IBF Super Bantamweight world title clash in Belfast, Whyte will take on Beka Lobjanidze, a Georgian boxer who is also yet to be beaten this year.
“It’s good to be part of an event that is bringing boxing back to terrestrial TV again. It’s what boxing needs to bring more excitement back into the sport, and to get more people back into it”, says Whyte. “This fella I’m fighting on Saturday is undefeated just like me. He has a similar record with a similar knockout percentage.
“The good thing about him is that he was a tough amateur boxer at one stage before he turned professional, and he has knocked out everyone he fought. I’m expecting a tough, hard fight. If I can knock this guy out tomorrow it will be amazing”.
Should Whyte’s winning streak extend beyond this ten-round bout, it will be interesting to see if it proves to be a stepping stone towards a clash with WBC International Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua MBE. A boxer Whyte seems keen to knockout.
“I’d fight Anthony Joshua again for one reason alone – just to knock him out. In the amateurs I once bashed him all over the place. After that, he and I used to be cool but then he said some things about me and about the ban that p**sed me off”, says Whyte.
“That sparked the feud between us and I basically don’t like the guy. I don’t wish him any harm, but I don’t like him.I supported him when he was in the Olympics and I was one hundred per cent behind him. So I was shocked to read what he said about me in the papers.
“That p**sed me off and now I want to get a chance to fight him again and knock him out. But like I said, if it happens, it happens. But if doesn’t happen, it doesn’t. It’s one-nil to me. We’ll see what happens. In Britain alone and on the world stage, there are so many big fighters. I don’t need to chase him. I’ve got an eliminator contest against Gary Cornish coming up. If I win that I will get the chance to compete for a British title”, Whyte added.
“We’ll wait and see what happens with that but I’m not waiting for anyone in my career. If the fights are not happening here, I’ll go to the USA. If they’re happening in Germany, I’ll go there. I’ll go wherever the fights are because I want to fight, to stay active and work my way up the old school way.”
‘The World Is Not Enough’ clash will be screened live on ITV4 tomorrow (Saturday 28 February). Follow @DillianWhyte or @MiguelsGym on Twitter.