Dillian Whyte: ‘I was disappointed to lose to Tyson Fury, but if I lost 10 quid I’d be disappointed’

Dillian Whyte suffered a knockout loss to Tyson Fury in April, with the WBC title on the line (Getty Images)
Dillian Whyte suffered a knockout loss to Tyson Fury in April, with the WBC title on the line (Getty Images)

"Listen, I'm a nobody," Dillian Whyte says, in one of his first interviews since fighting Tyson Fury for the world heavyweight title in front of a record 94,000 people at London's Wembley Stadium.

The thing is, despite the irony, you get the sense he really means it.

"I've far surpassed what I should've done in life already," Whyte says from across a long, ornate table, somewhere in the downstairs maze of a suave Soho hotel. "I still want to achieve more, I'm still hungry, but after a while it becomes more about the people around you than yourself, because... I'm a nobody."

Whyte is no nobody. The Briton, 34, is one of the most formidable heavyweights of his generation – a berserker who has battled them all and beaten the vast majority. Those in-ring battles almost seem trivial after the war Whyte waged to simply survive in Port Antonio, Jamaica, where he was "dodging bullets" before moving to Brixton and having his first child as a young teenager.

But on an April evening this spring, Whyte was again dodging incoming fire, and there was nothing trivial to him about the moment he finally got caught – a Fury uppercut scything through the London air and his opponent's guard to put Whyte to sleep yet wake him from his dream.

"These guys put a lot into me and believe in me, fight life-and-death battles for me," Whyte says of his team. "It was heartbreaking for them. I know for me to win a world title would have changed my life, but for them it would have been something so special.

"Of course I was disappointed; if I lost 10 quid I'd be disappointed! 'S***, dumb f***, you lost 10 quid!' That's the kind of person I am, but I was disappointed for my team more than me, because of what they went through to get me that title fight. S*** had been going on for a long time, the battle we had to fight..."

Whyte first became interim WBC champion in 2019, but despite maintaining that status into 2020 and regaining it in 2021 by avenging a loss to Alexander Povetkin, a shot at the official title continued to elude the "Bodysnatcher".

"My guys worked night and day because of the time difference; they'd wake up at crazy hours to get on the phone to lawyers in America," he explains. "It came eventually, but they made me wait way too long. When I was primed and ready to go, they made me wait years and years and years and years and years. When it came, I wasn't even excited about it. Obviously I was on fire and charged up for the fight, but on the night there was just lots of s*** going on.

Whyte was put down by Fury in the sixth round before the fight was waved off (Getty Images)
Whyte was put down by Fury in the sixth round before the fight was waved off (Getty Images)

“The whole thing was against us from the minute the fight was signed 'til the minute the fight was over, but I was the away fighter and I should have expected that going in. They kept f***ing me about with a lot of things, but it's all mind games, it's part and parcel of the game."

In the fight itself, Whyte employed an unexpected tactic from the opening bell, coming out in southpaw, but he soon resorted to orthodox and – in all truth – failed to trouble Fury from either stance. Whyte was winging his shots, and the efficiency of Fury's won out. Whyte was down in the sixth, barely beat the referee's count, and was deemed unfit to continue as his scattered thoughts were swallowed by the noise of 94,000 screaming onlookers in Wembley.

He has since had time to process those thoughts and turn them to the next challenge, which also comes at Wembley but in the Arena, not stadium, and in the form of unbeaten American Jermaine Franklin.

The 29-year-old is supremely confident in his chances of defeating Whyte on Saturday night, while the Briton has aimed to avoid complacency, training in Los Angeles with new coach Buddy McGirt. The American, 58, is a former two-weight world champion who fought Pernell Whitaker, and his gym is populated with NBA players from the LA Lakers and Clippers.

And while Whyte missed his home in Portugal and his seven dogs, he refuses to complain about his recent living situation in the US. "You can't be a wolf without a pack. As a pack, we hunt together.

Whyte faces off with unbeaten American Jermaine Franklin (Getty Images)
Whyte faces off with unbeaten American Jermaine Franklin (Getty Images)

“Of course I can name the f***ing seven dogs, they're my dogs!” he barks at one question. “The first one's called 'None of your business'. You know too much already. It's a secret.

"But I'll do whatever it takes to give my all in this game," he stresses. "If I have to live in a tent, I'll live in a tent; I don't care, it's no problem for me. I slept under a tree before in my life, I slept on a bench before. So, living in a tent [would be] a luxury for me.

"I'm very adaptable, and that's why I’ve been able to survive. You can put me in the desert, in Finland, wherever. I've been surviving since I was a child. I know how to survive and I know how to fight; as sad as it sounds, those are the two things I know how do to best.

"I'm like one of the most chilled people, I literally just go about my day, until someone f***s me off – and then I become real nasty, real fast."

Whyte becoming real nasty, real fast would spell bad news for Franklin on Saturday night, and it could even set up the Briton for a rematch with old rival Anthony Joshua, whom he beat as an amateur but suffered a knockout loss to in a 2015 professional bout.

Still, he insists he won't look past Franklin for the sake of eyeing vengeance.

"It's heavyweight boxing, man, never plan while you're in a heavyweight fight. Of course I would like that fight, he's one of the three people I've lost to; I've avenged one of them already, I definitely want to avenge the other two. It's a major fight, but for me it's about avenging the loss more than anything else. That's even better to me than a world title to be honest.

"If me and him lace gloves up, it's gonna be a war, even if we lose our next 10 fights in a row. We have that same energy that [Muhammad] Ali and [Joe] Frazier had."

Whyte beat Anthony Joshua as an amateur but lost to his fellow Briton as a professional (Getty)
Whyte beat Anthony Joshua as an amateur but lost to his fellow Briton as a professional (Getty)

Winning the world title remains a goal for Whyte, though, whether gaining it would require a rematch with Fury or a fresh clash, with Oleksandr Usyk.

'Do you beat Usyk up?' he is asked. "Listen, I'm not gonna try and box with him!" Whyte says, as the room erupts into laughter. "I'm not gonna sit there and try and jab with him and all of that; I'm gonna rush him, do all sorts, start throwing low kicks and the lot."

On Saturday night, Whyte may box or he may brawl. Either way, Franklin is in for the fight of his life.

Whyte has already won the fight of his life, but continuing to fight is all he knows how to do.

Whyte vs Franklin is live on DAZN on Saturday 26 November.