Dillian Whyte drugs test: Sordid tale should be final time a mistake is merely a blip in a career

WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder insists there is “no place for cheats” in boxing

Steve Bunce
Friday 26 July 2019 15:32
Dillian Whyte survives ninth-round knockdown to beat Rivas

Deontay Wilder, close to six ten in his glittering gold boots, surveyed the murky Thames from the 24th floor of the Shard and promised to unite the heavyweight division by the end of next year.

Wilder has a fight planned for November against the exiled Cuban, Luis Ortiz, then, assuming he retains his WBC title, he will fight a rematch with Tyson Fury in the first half of 2020. “Then I want all the other belts,” insisted Wilder and that means a fight with the IBF, WBA and WBO champion, Andy Ruiz.

“I knew that Ruiz would beat (Anthony) Joshua and win the title,” said Wilder. “Ruiz is a very good fighter, underestimated. I’m not sure Joshua should go straight to a rematch. We will see.” News on that rematch is imminent.

Wilder was expected, at some point next year, to fulfil a WBC mandatory defence and finally fight Dillian Whyte. However, that scrap appears to have vanished since the news of Whyte’s alleged failed drugs test, revealed on Wednesday to the public, but a week earlier to Whyte and his promoters.

Whyte then met and beat Oscar Rivas last Saturday over twelve torrid rounds. Rivas has confirmed that he was not informed about the failed test. Wilder has been dismissive of the line of communication and of Whyte. Thankfully, Whyte finally released a statement on Friday afternoon, a feisty missive of defiance. He is angry at the “rubbish that has been said about me.” It is, he confirmed, with lawyers.

The confusion and mixed messages, which ended 48 hours of silence surrounding Whyte’s test, potential appeal, innocence, guilt and future, are an embarrassment to everybody involved in both the revelation and the continued concealment of the brutal facts. There is no magic bunny moment coming, there will not be a glorious reveal that clears everybody and when the sorry, sordid tale is told in full there will remain as many questions as there are plastic answers given. Wilder has simply added to the growing consensus of outrage and shame.

Deontay Wilder knocks out Dominic Breazeale in the first round of their heavyweight title contest

Wilder and Whyte have been an unhappy item since late 2017, both locked at various times in a battle of words, broken promises and threats. Whyte, let’s get this clear, deserved his chance, deserved a fight for the WBC title against Wilder having waited in vain and fought a list of top contenders; Whyte had that rare piece of boxing moral high ground staked out and the testers reportedly swooped. The righteous tumbled and now we wait for the gentle layering of deceit mixed, hopefully, with some humility.

Whyte can talk about the “truth coming out” and “minimal levels” and we will listen. However, it has been a terrible few days for boxing’s image. “We all deserve better – we all risk our lives in the ring. This drugs stuff is wrong,” added Wilder.

Whyte has allegedly failed a drugs test

A few months ago Jarrell Miller failed a drug test, was withdrawn in utter contempt and disgust from an Anthony Joshua fight when three illegal substances, the type of vile quackery that so tragically transformed the East German women, were found glowing in his tainted blood. Miller appeared in public with his head dipped in shame, contrite, broken, speechless. I might add, gutless in his duplicity. He has since mumbled and bumbled his way through pathetic interviews, peddling some b******s about treatment for an injured elbow.

Now, he is on the verge of a ring return, he is in demand, pondering options, his conscience apparently cleared by his sudden popularity. Whyte will no doubt look at Miller’s potential return from the dumb chemistry of his capture and believe his resurrection from his own alleged stupidity is not far away. It is time that a boxer’s lapse in drug protocol, a mistake in the ingestion of a masking agent or the consumption of an over-the-counter drink, becomes more than just a blip in their career, more than an error rectified by a glum apology and a bit of applied science.

Jarrell Miller says he is “absolutely devastated” after his licence was revoked

It was in 2000 when John Ruiz, the heavyweight champion of the world at the time, told me one afternoon in Las Vegas that a boxer on steroids would kill a man in the ring. Each year boxers die from their injuries, two men have died from injuries sustained in the boxing ring since Whyte and Rivas fought, but nobody has pinned a death in the ring on a drug abuser. Nobody yet, but it will happen.

“This great sport needs to be clean – we all need to be clean,” added Wilder, before leaving to train alongside a dozen local, young boxers at the Fitzroy Lodge gym, all part of a WBC initiative in the heart of south London. “There is no place for cheats, no place for excuses in boxing. There never has been.”

He is right, but excuses for failed tests are becoming slicker, more believable, more brazen and far too easily accepted.

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