Frank Warren says Dillian Whyte was played
British boxing promoter Frank Warren has never been one to hold his tongue. The Queensberry promoter is far from shy to share his opinion about a rival promoter or a fighter.
During an interview on BT Sport Boxing, the 68-year-old didn’t hold back with his assessment of Dillian Whyte’s (27-2, 18 KOs) shocking KO defeat at the hands of Alexander Povetkin (36-2-1. 25 KOs).
“I didn’t think it was a smart move to make that fight, I mean he was mandatory. I don’t know who was advising him to do that, I don’t know where Dillian Whyte is.
He moans constantly about how he’s been a thousand days and so on and so forth. But he’s had opportunities to fight for world titles. He hasn’t taken it, he’s had opportunities to move on and he’s not done that.
I don’t know who advised him, and even now they advised him to be back in the ring in November. I mean he got seriously knocked out, gave him oxygen and everything.”
Warren went on to detail that the British Board of Control stipulates for the kind of one-punch, concussive KO that Whyte suffered, a 40-day rest and recovery period is required before a fighter can resume training and sparring. It is his opinion that a quick turnaround is unwise and dangerous. If his handlers were looking out for his health, they would not be willing to rush him back in the ring so soon.
CONTEXT IS CRITICAL
There is a backdrop to Warren’s comments that must be understood. He co-promotes the current WBC World Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs). Whyte was the WBC’s mandatory contender for over two years. In the lead-up to his fight against Povetkin, the sanctioning organization had ruled he was to fight for the WBC Heavyweight title by February 2021.
Unsurprisingly, Warren, along with Top Rank boss Bob Arum (who also co-promotes Fury) were not too enthusiastic about Fury fighting Whyte. They had visions of staging a super-fight in 2021 between Fury and WBA/WBO/IBF World Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs).
ABSOLVED FROM FAULT?
Even as Whyte was forced to be patient, he has not always been wise in his decision-making over the years. In April 2018, he had the opportunity to fight Kubrat Pulev (281-1, 14 KOs) in an IBF Heavyweight Eliminator with the winner to face Joshua. Whyte turned down the fight, deciding to fight Joseph Parker (27-2, 21 KOs) instead.
Then in January 2019, Whyte declared himself a free agent and flew out to Las Vegas to meet with Al Haymon to discuss possibly signing with PBC. Ultimately, he decided to stay loyal to his current promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. The irony is, if he would have decided to leave, Whyte more than likely would have landed his shot at the WBC Heavyweight strap against then-champion Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) who is a PBC fighter.
So it’s understandable why Warren has so much to say. There are those who may want to suggest that Warren is piling on and throwing salt on the wound. However, is that really the case? As stinging as Warren’s indictment was regarding the decision to fight Povetkin, he saved his strongest venom for Hearn.
“No, I think he was a pawn. I think he was that guy who was gonna be mandatory, so they didn’t have to stop the fight happening with AJ. He’s a pawn, he was their pawn.”
And it was Hearn who is just as highly interested in a Joshua – Fury fight as Warren and Arum. In life as in boxing, nothing can often hit harder and hurt like the facts and truth.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.