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Hearn: Whyte Had Wrong Mindset For Fury, Can Still Be In Big Fights

Dillian Whyte’s future may be unclear in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s events at Wembley Stadium, but promoter Eddie Hearn still believes the heavyweight can be in great fights.

Whyte spoke to Sky Sports yesterday 48 hours after his knockout loss to Tyson Fury claiming that he received an illegal push in the sixth round a split second after being hit by an uppercut which led to the KO. 

Hearn, who has promoted Whyte for several years, was critical of the WBC title challenger’s performance.

“For me, Dillian Whyte was too passive in the early stages of that fight,” Hearn said while appearing on The DAZN Boxing Show. 

“It was all too friendly, friendly. There was a few elbows going in as the fight warmed up. Dillian will feel he just made a mistake at that moment in the fight. But this wasn’t a mistake like [the] Povetkin mistake where he was controlling the fight. He was getting outboxed. I didn’t really give him a round in the fight, maybe one round. I’m saying this as a fan. 

“I think inactivity played a massive part as well. Dillian’s boxed six rounds in two years and it’s very difficult to go in with inactivity and beat a great fighter like Tyson Fury. It was a strange knockout. The Povetkin uppercut was a brutal shot, but this was a skimming shot that made its way up the chin and on to the top of the head. He got up but he couldn’t compose himself.”

Writer’s note: Whyte has boxed more than six rounds in two years. Since August 2020 Dillian Whyte fought Alexander Povetkin twice (a fifth round KO loss and a fourth round TKO) as well as the sixth round KO defeat to Fury.

What of the future? Before Hearn and Matchroom’s broadcast agreement with Sky ended Whyte was consistently put on their pay-per-view platform. He was one of their biggest stars but his lacklustre display against Fury leaves doubts as to whether he can cut it with the best in the division.

“He’s made a lot of money, but he can still be involved in some great fights,” Hearn asked. 

“Can he go on and win a world heavyweight championship? Maybe when all the dust settles, these belts fragment. He’s a very good heavyweight but I just feel mindset is everything. He had the wrong mindset in that fight in my opinion and so did AJ when he boxed Usyk and you need someone in the ear that can flick the switch at the right time. 

“I’m not saying that the Dillian Whyte that boxed AJ would have beat Tyson Fury but back then that guy was a bad motherfucker. Ready to go. Back then if Dillian had fought Tyson Fury and Tyson Fury started tickling him in the head-to-head at the presser Whyte would have cleaned him out on sight. He would have chinned him. It was brilliant mind games by Tyson Fury. He does it so well.”

Image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing