Dillian Whyte ‘overdue’ for world title shot against Tyson Fury, says ex-trainer

Dillian Whyte’s former trainer Mark Tibbs is pleased the heavyweight will get an “overdue” world title shot this week and says the Brixton boxer knows how to beat Tyson Fury but admits putting it into practice is a different matter.

An all-British affair will take place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday where up to 94,000 spectators could be in attendance for the biggest domestic bout in the division since Lennox Lewis beat Frank Bruno in 1993.

Whyte has waited patiently for his chance to fight for the WBC-belt, stating he was the mandatory challenger to Deontay Wilder as far back as 2018 only to see the former world champion take on Fury in what turned out to be a trilogy.

Now the 34-year-old will get his opportunity on the biggest stage, but there were fears he could pull out after he failed to turn up to last month’s press conference

However, the Jamaican-born fighter acknowledged the fight was set to happen for the first time on Wednesday with a social-media post.

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Tibbs, who worked with Whyte for four years, told the PA news agency: “I had a good journey with Dillian and I really enjoyed it. We had a good time together.

“I am pleased for him that he has got his world title shot at last. It is well overdue and I was a little bit surprised he wasn’t performing with the press conference but I was relieved on Wednesday when I realised he has been playing a game and now he was playing ball after that tweet.

“Knowing Dillian as I do and knowing his strength of mind and character, I really believe he will be the best Dillian Whyte on April 23. He will be tuned in, he will be focused mentally and nothing will faze him. It will fuel him mentally.”

Tibbs first trained the ‘Body Snatcher’ after his 2015 loss to Anthony Joshua, which arguably sent the old amateur rivals on different trajectories with the winner going on to achieve his world title dreams.

Whyte (28-2, 19KOs) regrouped under the tutelage of his highly-respected trainer only to suffer a shock defeat to Russian veteran Alexander Povetkin during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.

By this point Tibbs had gone his separate ways from the heavyweight, who avenged his surprise reverse last March and now has Fury in his sights again with the duo sharing history over long-debated sparring sessions early in their careers.

I am pleased for him that he has got his world title shot at last. It is well overdue.

“Dillian felt they would meet at some point and I always thought it would make a great fight for the fans,” Tibbs explained.

“He has always had Fury in mind, we have always spoke about Fury and he knows what he has got to do against Fury, but it is just doing it now.

“He knows he has to get up close and personal from the get-go, he can’t mess about and that is where he could win the fight – getting up close and trying to get that left-hook off.

“So, he is always in for a chance early doors but he is the outsider and Tyson Fury is a superior boxer, there is no doubt about it but Dillian’s got a puncher’s chance.”

Tibbs is set to be at Wembley on Saturday in a punditry capacity having just helped one of his new recruits become world champion three weeks ago.

Australian Ebanie Bridges, who first made headlines in the UK when she missed out on the vacant WBA bantamweight title to Shannon Courtenay last year, worked with the Rainham-based trainer at his Origin Gym before beating Maria Cecilia Roman to the IBF crown in Leeds on March 26.

Tibbs, whose father Jimmy trained Nigel Benn and Bruno in his heyday, said: “Ebaine’s heart and passion for the sport, I was drawn to. I felt I could tidy her up.

“She is due back in Australia very soon but then hopefully she comes back and works with me again because I feel we are doing all right.

“Since she got back in the gym, since the world title fight, she has actually got better. My father walked in the other day and said ‘she has come on, come on since the fight even’ and I knew she would.”

Bridges is one of many fine prospects at Tibbs’s Origin Gym, with high hopes for heavyweight Johnny Fisher who earned praise from Fury last year after joining the world heavyweight champion for sparring.

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“Johnny is a good prospect and I think he will go a very long way. He has learnt a lot in the year he has been a pro,” Tibbs said.

“I like to take one step at a time, so let’s win a couple of area titles and then look for a British title. After a British title, the world will be Johnny’s oyster.”

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