A sample collected by the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) from Whyte before the fight returned an “adverse finding”. He was cleared to fight by UKAD and the British Boxing Board of Control, although when the information came to light the WBC provisionally suspended Whyte’s mandatory status.
“I am so disappointed with the rubbish that has been said about me over the last few days,” he wrote on Twitter. “I have lawyers dealing with it and I have been told that I can’t talk about it for good legal reasons. I was cleared to fight and I won that fight fair and square. Thanks for the support.”
This was understandably not the opinion of he the Rivas camp, who did not know about the issues with Whyte’s test. Had he been made aware, Rivas’s promoter Yvon Michel said his man would have been withdrawn from the fight.
Wilder dealt with Breazeale in a round in May 2019, meaning Whyte could finally claim mandatory status with victory that July against dangerous Colombian Oscar Rivas.
He did so superbly, outboxing Rivas before and after a heavy knockdown early on in a dramatic ninth round. However, when the events around fight night became clear, Whyte’s world-title aims and his future in the sport were suddenly in jeopardy.
This inconclusive outcome was another factor that did Whyte no favours, but he made the most of the downtime, bludgeoning Lucas Browne to a first career defeat before claiming what remains his standout win against Joseph Parker, scoring two knockdowns before coming through a final-round crisis to edge out the former WBO champion.
Further Joshua undercard action followed in October 2017, when he claimed a wide points win over Robert Helenius in Cardiff. That victory won Whyte the vacant WBC silver title and earned him top-billing with the organisation. Then-champion Deontay Wilder was in his sights.
However, the vagaries of sanctioning-body rankings meant his new lofty status did not make Whyte the mandatory challenger to Wilder. Former Joshua victim Dominic Breazeale, who had been touted by promoter Eddie Hearn as a possible dance partner for Whyte at the Principality Stadium, earned that distinction with a win over Molina.
That fight was on the same card as Wilder’s first-round KO of Bermane Stiverne, meaning the Bronze Bomber had a year to satisfy his obligation to Breazeale.
Whyte’s journey towards a shot at heavyweight glory truly began before his stint at the top of the WBC rankings and with a bitter and painful knockout loss.metasports
Anthony Joshua dropped a decision loss to Whyte when both men were amateurs and the London 2012 golden boy agreed to face his rough-and-ready rival in his 15th professional contest in December 2015.
An acrimonious build-up spilt over at the end of round one, a session in which Joshua had battered and wobbled his then-similarly unbeaten foe. Shots were thrown after the bell sounded — elaborately so by Whyte — and men from the teams of both fighters piled into the ring.