Dillian Whyte has become the mandatory challenger for Deontay Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title after beating Oscar Rivas.
In a huge heavyweight eliminator, Whyte extended his professional record to 26-1 after a majority decision win at the O2 Arena, recovering from a ninth round knockdown to seal a win on the judges’ cards.
The win also sees the Brixton fighter become the WBC interim champion.
Whyte has been ranked as the number one contender by the WBC since November 2017 but victory over Rivas in London should guarantee him a second shot at a world title.
He may may have to wait, however, with Wilder eyeing rematches with Luis Ortiz and Tyson Fury.
Whyte landed a huge right upstairs against his Colombian opponent early in the second round with Rivas absorbing some heavy punishment before coming back with some powerful punches of his own.
Whyte’s control of the contest grew as the contest wore on however, landing the more telling shots with Rivas, previously unbeaten in 26 fights, looked bereft of ideas.
The momentum shifted completely however in the ninth when Rivas landed a fine uppercut to send Whyte to the mat.
While Whyte made the referee’s count, Rivas swarmed his opponent for the remainder of the round with Whyte forced to cling on – albeit landing an eye-catching upper cut of his own before the bell.
Whyte rallied on however, finding the target in the final three rounds to end any debate over which direction the fight was going.