Wallin, Salita want proof of Whyte injury, heavyweight fight rescheduled
Heavyweight contender Otto Wallin and promoter Dmitriy Salita made their position very clear on Friday. They want Wallin’s fight with WBC interim titlist Dillian Whyte to be rescheduled as soon as possible and for an independent doctor to examine Whyte in order to verify his claim of a shoulder injury.
“We want the fight rescheduled to make sure it happens,” Wallin told a few media members, including World Boxing News, on a video conference call, along with Salita, on Friday. “It’s a huge letdown when it happened that they canceled the fight like this. I’ve been training very hard and had my mind into this. This is a big letdown.”
Wallin was due to challenge Whyte for the interim belt on Oct. 30 at The O2 in London. However, on Wednesday, Whyte withdrew from the bout, claiming he had suffered a shoulder injury. The rest of the card will go on as planned on DAZN.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said that Whyte had been dealing with the injury for two weeks but that it worsened during a sparring session on Monday and forced him to pull out.
Matchroom Boxing issued a statement from Whyte’s doctor saying Whyte was indeed injured and termed the bout “canceled” rather than “postponed.”
Wallin and Salita find that fishy given the stakes, because earlier this month, the WBC ruled that the winner of the third fight between world champion Tyson Fury and former titlist Deontay Wilder – which was Fury, by devastating 11th-round knockout on Oct. 9 — would be mandated to face the interim titleholder next if he could not secure a contract for an undisputed title fight with three-belt titlist Oleksandr Usyk.
Since Usyk will next meet Anthony Joshua in a rematch, likely in March, that means Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs), 33, is obligated to face the interim titlist next, unless in the unlikely event Fury vacated the WBC title.
But Wallin (22-1, 14 KOs), 30, of Sweden, whose only loss was a highly competitive decision to Fury in Las Vegas in 2019, and Salita are skeptical that Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs), 33, is truly injured and perhaps is trying to swerve the dangerous fight with Wallin in order to go directly to a much bigger opportunity and payday to face Fury, his British countryman.
“We actually planned this for the press conference for Nov. 1 to announce Otto Wallin as the interim WBC world champion returning to New York City after his win against Dillian Whyte, but things went a bit astray,” Salita said to open the video conference.
He later said, “We feel it’s very important that the right decision comes forth and that the winner of the fight, Wallin and Whyte, fights Tyson Fury. If Otto is not given his rights, this would bring the sport back many, many years because there’s no care for basic human rights, there’s no care for what a world-class athlete has to go through, and this is such an important issue that’s bigger than the fight, as big as the fight is.
“(Whyte) should not be rewarded by being able to next fight Tyson Fury without following the order from the WBC and participating in that fight (with Wallin), because the WBC made an order that the winner of Whyte versus Wallin is gonna fight Tyson Fury. Now, instead of suffering repercussions, he’s maybe rewarded.”
Wallin said he had finished packing his bags and was about to head to the airport for his flight to London for the fight when he got a text message from one of his managers telling him not to get on the plane.
“I was done packing, I was about to head out to the airport, and then I get the text — ‘No, don’t board the flight because we don’t know what’s going to happen. Dillian Whyte says he has an injury and he’s gonna see a doctor, and then we’ll know for sure,’’ Wallin said. “So, it was very frustrating. I’ve been going through training for a period of time. I’ve had injuries in this camp, but I kept going, kept pushing forward because this fight was a huge opportunity for me and something I really wanted. I feel that I can beat Whyte and earn my shot to fight Fury again. And so it’s very frustrating.
“I don’t know if Dillian is injured or not, but we just want to know that we have all the facts, and so far, we haven’t gotten any facts at all.”
Wallin and Salita said all they have received from Matchroom Boxing is the same statements from Whyte and the doctor that were in the news release announcing that the fight was canceled. They want proof of the injury, not just a press release.
“They sent us a statement saying that he’s injured and he’s had a doctor look at him but nothing more than that, so we want to find out the facts and see if he’s injured and talk to his doctor and have an independent doctor look at him,” Wallin said. “I feel like that would be very important, but so far, there’s been no efforts on their end to help us with that, so we want to find that out and then make sure the fight gets rescheduled.”
Said Salita, who is clearly very skeptical of Whyte’s injury: “Team Whyte believed Otto had a great chance to win and he was going to London, to Whyte’s hometown, put himself under that pressure, and we feel he’s been dealt an unjust card.”
Salita said he has requested that the WBC and the British Boxing Board of Control mandate that the bout be rescheduled and that Whyte not be allowed to simply face Fury next.
“Otto was on his way to the airport when this happened. It doesn’t feel comfortable in so many different ways. All we want is the truth, and all we want is for the WBC to say is, yes, we’ve announced that the winner of Whyte versus Wallin is going to fight Tyson Fury, so let that fight be rescheduled for whenever Dillian Whyte is healthy.
“Otto will wait. He’ll wait until January, February, March, April, whatever. But the next fight of both guys should be against each other.”
Salita also said there is rescheduling language in the Whyte-Wallin contract – which is standard – in the event of an injury.
Despite the contract language, Salita said, “We have not heard from them as of yet if they’re planning to reschedule or not. There’s a contractual time limit on that, so we’ll know, I believe, by sometime end of next week.”
Wallin said he is frustrated to have the fight canceled just as he had finished a grueling training camp and spent money on it.
“I don’t know the exact numbers we spent on sparring partners and the training camp, but it can be quite a lot. We’re talking $15,000-$20,000 at least,” Wallin said. “So, it’s a lot of money, and apart from that, it’s my time and my career.”