Dillian Whyte's long road to a heavyweight world title shot

It has been a long time coming, but Dillian Whyte finally looks set to get a shot at a heavyweight world title.

More than 10 years after making his professional debut against Tayar Mehmed, the Brixton man looks like getting a fight with Tyson Fury for the WBC world title.

Earlier this week the WBC officially ordered Fury, their current heavyweight champion, to defend his belt against mandatory challenger Whyte.

Whyte had been left hanging on for the mandatory position over a litigation claim against the WBC, ironically over the pursuit of a world title shot.

But he now looks destined to get his shot at the big time with an all-British world title showdown with former sparring partner Fury pencilled in for February or March next year.

Whyte, 33, has been the nearly, nearly man of the heavyweight division.

If you remove the two years he was banned for doping earlier in his career, then it's been an eight-year career without getting the big chance many pundits believe he has deserved.

Whyte was scheduled to fight Otto Wallin in October, but pulled out of the fight due to a shoulder injury.

Whyte claimed he was "devastated" by the cancellation of the bout with the dangerous Swede.

Wallin's camp wanted proof from Whyte's doctor and an independent physician over the state of his shoulder, with suspicions Whyte has an ulterior motive.

"People know I don't pull out of fights," said Whyte, who claimed his "shoulder just completely shut down".

Whyte though had bigger fish to fry and admitted it was "a no-brainer" to pursue a much more lucrative showdown with Fury.

Only Whyte and his entourage know the truth, but a fight with Wallin, who came close to stopping Fury in September 2019, always looked a risk.

And Whyte also revealed he had a rematch clause in his contract and would have had to fight him again if Wallin had won. That would have more than likely ended his chances of a meeting with Fury.

On this occasion, the injury for Whyte came at a very convenient time. And it's hard to deny him that piece of 'luck'.

Planet Sport takes a look back at Whyte's misfortune.

Shock Povetkin loss

The Brixton fighter spent over 1,000 days as the WBC's No 1 ranked contender before he was brutally knocked out by Alexander Povetkin in August 2020.

That was a hammer blow to Whyte's dream and derailed his hopes of getting a fight on with Fury.

Everything looked to be clicking into place for Whyte, whose measured performance looked to be far too good for the Russian Povetkin.

Whyte had stung in some hard bodyshots in round two before he knocked Povetkin down twice in the fourth.

A right-left combination had the Russian on his haunches before a short uppercut put his opponent on the canvas again.

Whyte had won every round and was clearly the more skilled of the pair, but Povetkin found a punch of a lifetime in round five.

Whyte was hammered by a left uppercut that knocked him out cold with only 30 seconds of the fifth gone in front of an empty Brentwood arena

He eventually got to his feet, but his world title hopes were floored.

Whyte in a 'dark place'

In December 2019 Whyte had stepped in a short notice to fight Mariusz Wach.

Whyte was far from convincing and came in overweight, but he got the job done via a unanimous decision.

It was the fall-out after the fight that was more revealing though. Whyte admitted he had been in a "dark place over the last few months". He even revealed he had considered quitting the sport.

"I've been off for six months, people have been screwing me left, right, and center," Whyte said. "I came in on three weeks notice overweight. I wanted to stop him, but he's tough. Everyone's been screwing me. I've been through hell these last couple months."

He was referencing his attempts to get a shot at then WBC champ Deontay Wilder.

Whyte was still, at least in theory, in line for a shot at the American, but his claims had been pushed back so many times that his desire to continue had been severely curbed.

He had started his push to become mandatory challenger to Wilder in 2017.

No wonder Whyte was feeling low.

Cleared of doping

Whyte's unanimous points decision over Oscar Rivas in July 2019 at the O2 Arena, made him a mandatory challenger for Wilder.

But the WBC then said it had provisionally suspended Whyte as the mandatory challenger because the Brit had failed a doping test.

The WBC said in a statement on its website that an "A" sample collected by UKAD from Whyte yielded an adverse finding.

The sample he provided on June 20 - a month before his heavyweight title fight with Rivas - had contained "trace amounts"of steroid metabolites.

In December though, UK Anti-Doping withdrew the charge against Whyte and cleared the British boxer of any wrongdoing and he was able to fight Wach.

It's been a long and winding road for Jamaica-born Whyte, but he finally looks set to get up and close with Fury, a man he claims to have knocked out in sparring, for a world title.

He told Sky Sports in 2019: "Tyson's awkward, he's long, he's rangy, some days he may outbox you here and there, but I definitely laid him out before."

'I'll knock him out'

A year previous to that Whtye tweeted: 'Gypsy @Tyson_Fury Coward always conning the public you forget I've put you down lots before & watched you pathetically sobbing on the canvas you ran away last year when ordered you to fight me anytime anywhere anyhow #FakeTyson #Coward' (sic).

Meanwhile, Fury's reaction to the impending match-up has been short and sweet.

"I've known Dillian a long time and he has improved a lot. But the outcome will always be the same, I'll knock him out, if that fight happens," Fury told Behind the Gloves.

It was a coy response from Fury, who said he was not focused on any particular opponent.

The reason being that talks are probably ongoing for Anthony Joshua to step aside and allow Fury a unification fight with Oleksandr Usyk.

If that happens, then Whyte's dream will be shattered once more.

Surely not?

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