Eddie Hearn Believes Dillian Whyte Could Suffer Shock Defeat Tonight For Same Reasons As Anthony Joshua Did
Promoter Eddie Hearn is worried that his charge Dillian Whyte could suffer a similar defeat tonight to that of Anthony Joshua who dramatically lost his IBF, WBA and WBO Heavyweight belts to Andy Ruiz Jr last month.
We caught up with Hearn ahead of Saturday night's PPV card which is headlined by British heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte taking on Colombian Oscar Rivas at The O2 Arena in London with the winner becoming the mandatory challenger for Deontay Wilder's WBC belt, with the fight expected to take place after Wilder's rematch with Tyson Fury early next year.
Rivas comes into the fight with a perfect 26-0 record with 18 of those wins coming by way of knockout and Hearn is worried that Whyte could suffer a similar fate to Joshua with many overlooking the Colombian.
"There are so many similarities between Oscar Rivas and Andy Ruiz and the whole situation in general, where everyone's saying, 'Oh, Dillian Whyte will beat Oscar Rivas.' But people in boxing are saying this is a 50-50 fight."
BREAKING: Dillian Whyte To Face The Winner Of Wilder Vs. Fury If He Beats Rivas https://t.co/JxLJZ6jCiO- SPORTbible (@sportbible) July 17, 2019
"Oscar Rivas is a brilliant amateur, he beat Andy Ruiz easily in the amateurs. He's beaten Pulev, beaten all these guys. Dillian Whyte only had seven amateur fights so him and Joshua are really still learning on the job."
"The other similarity is when Joshua boxed Ruiz, everyone was talking about the one after. 'Is it Wilder? Is it Fury? What are you going to do next? What are you going to do next?"
"Now everyone is talking about the mandatory position for Deontay Wilder for Dillian. He ain't won yet. So he's got to make sure that his head is focused. Boxing's one of those sports where if you don't go in there prepared for a war, it can unravel very quickly."
"I think that's what we saw with A.J. I think he trained hard, I think he didn't do anything wrong. But, mentally, how can you be that focused on this guy in front of you when everyone's telling you you're going to walk through him and talking about the next fight already?"
Eddie also referenced Dillian's most recent opponent, Dereck Chisora, when rating Oscar Rivas' chances of causing an upset in the capital this evening. Although Whyte landed the knockout blow against Chisora late on in the 11th round of the fight, he was losing in most people's opinions up until that moment.
"Let's look at it like this. After ten rounds of Chisora vs Whyte, Dereck Chisora was up on the cards. Rivas is faster than Chisora, he punches harder than Chisora, he has a better chin than Chisora, he's got a better work rate than Chisora, he's technically better than Chisora and he has a better defense than Chisora."
Despite hyping up Rivas' chances, Hearn is confident that the Colombian will bring out the very best in Whyte which should hopefully setup an absolute war inside the O2 Arena tonight.
"When you do that with Dillian Whyte, you sort of wake up the giant, if you like. There's no one you would want to have a tear-up with less than Dillian Whyte. Because he is one of the toughest son of a bitches I've ever known and he's got a left hook that will put horses to sleep. So do that at your peril, but that's what Rivas will do and that's why you'll get such a great fight."
Hearn also responded to recent criticism of putting tonight's show on pay-per-view by saying that it's impossible to make fights of this magnitude without doing so.
"You can't pay these guys this kind of money without pay-per-view. So I have to make the decision to be unpopular to give these guys the pay days that they deserve and, by the way, some of them won't fight unless you gave them this kind of money. So the only model for the big nights like this is pay-per-view."
"So, just know that you're responsible actually for the financial success of these guys on Saturday and the more pay-per-view buys, the more money the higher ranked guys will make out of the show. That's how it works and they deserve it."
"Our responsibility is to make sure they have a chance to become financially secure. It's an horrible sport, mate. I mean, tough, tough sport. How mad is this sport where you have to go in there in front of 16,000 or 17,000 at the O2, who have all had five or six pints, none of which can fight, like you and me, in the O2 saying 'Yeah, mate. Do this. Throw the jab. What's the matter with you?'"
"It's the craziest sport in the world. It's dangerous, it's unethical. But it's historic, it's artistic, it's skillful, and it's been entertaining the public for years and years and years and for me, it's the greatest sport in the world.
Who are you backing in the main event tonight? Let us know in the comments if you think Dillian Whyte will get the job done and setup a tantalising clash with the winner of Wilder vs Fury II.