Otto Wallin wants what the heavyweight contender would consider more acceptable answers regarding Dillian Whyte’s withdrawal from their fight.
Wallin and his team were informed Wednesday morning that Whyte would not be able to fight him October 30 at O2 Arena in London due to a shoulder injury Whyte sustained while training. As of Friday afternoon, Wallin and his handlers hadn’t heard anything more than the initial information they received Wednesday from Whyte’s promotional partners at Matchroom Boxing.
Sweden’s Wallin stated Friday during a virtual press conference that he wants medical evidence from Whyte’s doctor and an independent physician to support Whyte’s injury claim. Wallin wants their 12-round fight for Whyte’s WBC interim title to be rescheduled as well, but Whyte and Matchroom are not contractually obligated to reschedule what was widely viewed as a high-risk, low-reward bout for Whyte.
London’s Whyte might instead move straight to a more lucrative showdown with British superstar Tyson Fury, the unbeaten WBC champion. The WBC hasn’t ordered a bout between Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) and Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) to take place next, but Bob Arum, Fury’s co-promoter, told BoxingScene.com on Friday that they would welcome the Whyte fight next for Fury.
The WBC has informed Wallin’s team that it will not require Whyte to reschedule his fight with Wallin because it was considered a voluntary defense of its interim championship. An attorney for Wallin also has petitioned the British Boxing Board of Control to request an independent physical examination of Whyte’s injured shoulder.
“I don’t know if Dillian is injured or not, but we just wanna know that we have all the facts,” Wallin said during the aforementioned virtual press conference Friday. “And so far, we haven’t got any facts at all. There’s been just a statement saying that he’s injured, he had a doctor look at it, but nothing more than that. And so, we wanna find out the facts and see if he’s injured, and wanna talk to his doctor and have an independent doctor look at it. And I feel like that’ll be very important. But so far, there’s been no effort on their end to help us with that. So, we wanna find that out and then make sure this fight gets rescheduled.”
Wallin (22-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC) had hoped to beat Whyte a week from Saturday night in a main event DAZN was supposed to stream and secure a rematch with Fury, who beat Wallin on points in a competitive 12-rounder two years ago at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The 30-year-old Wallin was made aware of Whyte’s injury just before he was about to leave his home in Manhattan for a transatlantic flight from New York to London.
“As Dmitriy said, I was, you know, done packing and everything,” Wallin said in reference to his promoter, Dmitriy Salita. “I was gonna head out to the airport. And then we get the text that, ‘No, don’t board that flight because we don’t know what’s gonna happen. Dillian Whyte says he has an injury and he’s gonna see a doctor and then we’ll know for sure.’ So, it was very frustrating.
“I mean, I’ve been going through training now for a period of time and, you know, I’ve had injuries through this camp, but I have kept going, kept pushing forward. And this was the fight that was a huge opportunity for me and something I really wanted. And I feel like I can beat Whyte and earn my shot to fight Fury again. And so, it’s very frustrating.”
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing’s managing director, told IFL TV in an interview posted Friday to its YouTube channel that he hasn’t ruled out rescheduling Whyte-Wallin. Hearn made it clear, however, that their preference for the 33-year-old Whyte will be to pursue his long-elusive shot at the WBC title by facing Fury.
Salita hopes that isn’t the route Matchroom and Whyte take.
“It’s very important that light is shone on this,” Salita said Friday. “And the reason why we have sanctioning bodies and the reason we have rules – everybody has problems in their lives, everybody has situations. But rules exist so that we have proper social conduct, so we can engage in sport according to certain perimeters and restrictions. And we feel what happened is unjust to the sport of boxing. It’s certainly unjust to Otto as an individual, but it’s an unjust situation to the sport of boxing. And we just want the right thing to happen. And the great equalizer and the great partner of the truth is the ring, so let the best man win.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.