Whyte: Lewis is the greatest British heavyweight of all-time, not Joshua or Fury

Over the last 30 years, British boxing has enjoyed high times in the heavyweight division after waiting almost a century for a successor to Bob Fitzsimmons. 

Brits currently dominate the heavyweight landscape, holding all the recognised world titles with Anthony Joshua the reigning WBA Super, WBO and IBF title holder and Tyson Fury in possession of the WBC belt and ‘Lineal’ championships.

But heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte believes the current, ruling duo are still some way off former undisputed champion Lennox Lewis in the greatness stakes.

Lewis retired at the heavyweight summit in 2003, having cleaned out the division and avenged both his previous defeats by stoppage. His achievements remain the benchmark for British heavyweights, according to Whyte.

“Lennox Lewis [is the greatest]. Just the people he fought, the people he beat, and the fashion he beat them,” Whyte told Sky Sports.

“He came back from his two defeats and won both the rematches, and how long he reigned. There was a period in time when no one could touch him. He was destroying dangerous guys. Destroying them in seconds. Just the way he fought, his fighting style and his aggression.

“He destroyed Andrew Golota, Michael Grant and Razor Ruddock; came from behind to beat Frank Bruno and Vitali Klitschko; beating Gary Mason, Oliver McCall, David Tua, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Shannon Briggs, Tommy Morrison and Zeljko Mavrovic. The list goes on and on. Look at the guys that he was beating.”

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has previously claimed that his fighter should be ranked above Lewis, but Whyte feels that is only natural given his role.

“Of course Eddie is going to say that [Joshua is Britain’s best],” added Whyte. “He’s definitely going to say that AJ is, because he wasn’t involved in Lennox Lewis, he was involved in AJ. Obviously, he’s trying to make history with AJ, so you understand that and rightly so. That’s what you should be doing as a promoter.”

Whyte is aiming to reinstate himself at the forefront of the current heavyweight crop in his rematch with Alexander Povetkin in Gibraltar on March 27. The Brixton man was, of course, on the brink of a WBC title shot before the Russian veteran twice rose from the canvas to secure a shock fifth-round win last August. 

“I’m pissed off with myself,” said Whyte. “I shouldn’t have lost last time and I did, and now it’s more to prove to myself than anyone else that it was just a blip and I know what I’m capable of doing.

“Listen, I tried to fight Povetkin years ago. Years and years ago I tried to fight him. I believe I could have beat him then, and I believe I can beat him now.”