Whyte Bests Rivas Despite Knockdown

Dillian Whyte’s long wait to be a mandatory challenger is now over, as he defeated Oscar Rivas at The O2 Arena in London, England, to become interim WBC heavyweight champion and earn mandatory status for the full WBC belt and its champion, Deontay Wilder.

Whyte, who has spent over 600 days as the WBC’s No. 1 contender, looked rough in the bout’s opening, with his body appearing weak in comparison to Rivas’ build. And Rivas did look strong at the start, landing several bombs on Whyte throughout the opening frame.

Whyte, however, bounced back in the second round by rocking Rivas with a right and laying massive flurries. Rivas, despite this, survived and managed to land several more blows on Whyte, who looked like he was trying to catch his breath.

The fight’s pace slowed down from then on here, but Whyte’s control took over, as Rivas appeared to have little to answer Whyte’s jab and storming combinations. Whyte managed to land his signature strong left hook to the body and swell Rivas’ eye before the end of the fifth.

Midway through the fight, Whyte stayed back on the outside, though still looking for a power shot and using his strength to answer Rivas every time the Colombian came forward. Rivas, however, had his moment in the ninth round when he caught Whyte and dropped him. Whyte got up quickly and came back, but he could not knock Rivas down.

He would not need one, however, as Whyte, through exhaustion, fired back on his opponent and swept the final three rounds, cruising to a decision win. The judges scored the contest 115-112, 115-112, 116-111.

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