Dillian Whyte is in a bad place right now. On the verge of a money-spinning world title shot, after defeating tough contender Oscar Rivas, Whyte seemingly had it all to play for. Then the news broke about an adverse finding in a pre-fight drugs test, and his world came crashing down.
Rivas’ camp has called for the decision to be overturned. They were not informed of the situation, and their man entered the ring on July 20 utterly oblivious to the fact that the Colombian’s opponent had provided UKAD with a suspect sample.
Official channels have been strangely quiet on the whole affair while promoter Eddie Hearn busies himself on a damage limitation exercise. The usual talking heads, often so vocal on such matters, have yet to emerge in condemnation. In truth, one can hardly blame them. The facts have yet to emerge fully. Further samples need to be tested. In a media climate of reprisals, screenshots, audio clips, and cut-price personal detectives, nobody wants to say something that could later come back to bite them.
Speaking exclusively to BNTV, Eddie Hearn said: “All you can do at the moment is take the facts on board, which is he was cleared to fight. Understand, there was a hearing where the facts and evidence were presented.
“At the time, I had to do what I believe was right.”
The whole situation does not give off a good look, especially in the light of two recent ring fatalities.
Firstly, on July 19 in the MGM National Harbor, Russia’s Maxim Dadashev boxed Puerto Rico’s Subriel Matias on a Top Rank undercard. Dadashev took a heavy beating, before being finally withdrawn late in the contest. Shortly after, with the boxer vomiting and unable to walk straight, he was rushed to the hospital, only to pass away days later. In accordance with the Russian Boxing Federation, Dadashev’s widow is pursuing a legal route, claiming medical documents were altered in the lead-up to the bout. Dadashev’s manager has strenuously denied such claims.
This was followed by the news that 23-year-old Argentine boxer Hugo Santillan had died following his bout with Eduardo Javier Abreu. Shocking footage showed Santillan struggling to stand up straight as the verdict was announced after their 10-round draw. Ailing Santillan is then seen stumbling to his corner.
The WBC tweeted out: “RIP Hugo Santillan. He passed away from injuries suffered during Saturday’s fight which ended in a draw. We join Hugo’s family and friends in grief, support and wish prompt resignation.”
The WBC has had a busy run, given Dillian Whyte was their Interim heavyweight champion. This was a strange move to begin with, as standard champion Deontay Wilder is fit and active, so no secondary champion was required. Whyte has been provisionally suspended as the investigations into his issues continue.