Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 February 2020

Clash on the Dunes: Dillian Whyte hopes to put tough few months behind him with quick win against Mariusz Wach

Brit boxer was a late addition to blockbuster weekend at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia

Dillian Whyte left, promoter Eddie Hearn, centre, and Mariusz Wach in Riyadh. PA
Dillian Whyte left, promoter Eddie Hearn, centre, and Mariusz Wach in Riyadh. PA

A late addition to what has been dubbed “Clash on the Dunes,” Dillian Whyte is aiming to put a testing few months behind him with a swift and slick victory against Mariusz Wach in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The Brit boxer, the current WBC interim champion, represents one of the main pulls on what is a stacked undercard this weekend at the Diriyah Arena, in the build-up to Anthony Joshua’s highly anticipated world heavyweight title rematch with Andy Ruiz.

Whyte was announced for the bill only last week, and comes into the bout on the back of July’s victory against Colombian Oscar Rivas. However, it later emerged he had failed a UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) test before the fight and, although Whyte was cleared that day to face Rivas, it remains unclear if he will face sanction.

The WBC provisionally suspended Whyte as their mandatory challenger, with promoter Eddie Hearn this week calling on UKAD to put an end to the confusion.

Speaking alongside Hearn on Wednesday at the pre-event press conference in Diriyah, Whyte said: “The last few months been tough, obviously. I’ve been using the gym as a distraction, training, trying to keep busy and keep my mind occupied.

“You know me, I got the call late, but it doesn’t take long to talk me into a fight. 'Is there a potential date, a potential opponent? Cool, I’m up for it; let’s have it. Whoever you want, whoever wants it can get it'.”

This weekend, Whyte goes up against Wach, a competent Pole who once fought for the world title and has 35 victories from 40 professional bouts. Put to him by Hearn that he typically contests 50-50 fights but this time is expected to win, the former No 1 contender countered that he much preferred the former.

“I hate being favourite,” said Whyte, whose professional record reads 26 wins from 27 fights, with one defeat. “I come to the ring with maximum-violence intentions. I want to try and hurt the guy. At the end of the day, Mariusz is a nice guy, I’ve met him before and he’s alright. But when the bell goes I will be trying to damage him as quickly and as much as I can.

“It’s just about getting the win, getting out there, getting the ‘W’, move on, moving to next year and get back to doing what I do best. And that’s fighting anyone, any time, anywhere.”

One of the other highlights on a card featuring five heavyweight bouts and four title fights will be the WBA world championship eliminator between the former world heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin and up-and-comer Michael Hunter.

“It’s a dream come true, I can’t ask for anything more,” the American said. “I get to spice up the fight before the main event. I’m very excited for this fight, my opponent and everything that comes with it. Watch me do my thing.”

Elsewhere, sure to be of local interest is the match-up between Saudi-born Zuhayr Al Qahtani and Kuwait’s Omar Dusary for the WBC Middle East crown.

Updated: December 5, 2019 01:56 PM

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