Dmitriy Salita respects what Dillian Whyte has accomplished in the heavyweight division, but he doesn’t appreciate how Whyte has handled his controversial victory over Jermaine Franklin.
A skeptical Salita, whose company promotes Franklin, questioned whether Whyte was actually hindered by a biceps injury and a chest infection during a 12-round fight Whyte won by majority decision last month at OVO Arena Wembley in London. Whyte didn’t mention either condition in his post-fight press conference, but he referenced those hindrances during an interview with Michelle Joy Phelps’ YouTube channel, “Behind The Gloves.”
“This list of excuses is obviously an admission of a loss and a subpar performance,” Salita told BoxingScene.com. “For someone who had a chest infection, he sounded pretty loud and didn’t sound congested when he was cursing at me and pushed me at the press conference.”
The 35-year-old Whyte declared afterward that he defeated Franklin “clearly” and therefore sees no need to fight Franklin again.
Two judges – Germany’s Juergen Langos (116-112) and England’s Grzegorz Molenda (116-112) – scored eight rounds apiece for Whyte. The third judge, England’s Michael Alexander, scored it a draw (115-115).
Eddie Hearn, Whyte’s promoter, admitted that it was highly competitive, yet he stated Whyte won the 10th, 11th and 12th rounds to avoid an upset, 115-113. Salita disagreed, though he also acknowledged that their fight was very closely contested.
“Even though Dillian lost, it was a competitive fight, in my opinion,” Salita said. “I think a rematch would be a great fight. Jermaine would be better and I think Dillian would be better, and I think it would be one of the bigger, better fights in the heavyweight division.”
Whyte is much more likely, of course, to pursue the biggest fight for him, a rematch against Anthony Joshua, his British rival.
The former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion stopped Whyte in the seventh round of their December 2015 fight at O2 Arena in London. Hearn reiterated his plan after Whyte defeated Franklin to match Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) and Whyte (29-3, 19 KOs) again in 2023, this time at Wembley Stadium in London.
Understandably, that won’t stop Salita from calling for Franklin to secure his own rematch.
“Obviously, when fighters lose fights there’s a list of excuses,” Salita said. “And Dillian after the fight said he won the fight fair and square, clear, and now he’s making excuses to explain his subpar performance. If he wasn’t a hundred percent, no problem. Let’s do the fight again. I know he trained with Buddy McGirt in the United States. If you wanna do the fight in the United States, no problem. If you wanna do the fight in the UK, no problem. We’ll give you an opportunity when you’re a hundred percent. Take your vitamins, drink your orange juice, go for your morning walks and let’s do the fight when you’re a hundred-percent healthy.”
Whyte was listed by most sportsbooks as at least a 12-1 favorite versus Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs), of Saginaw, Michigan. The 29-year-old Franklin fought the most proven opponent of his seven-year pro career and, even in defeat, legitimized himself as a heavyweight contender.
“Dillian Whyte is a very good heavyweight and is very accomplished and I have a lot of respect for what he has done in the ring,” Salita said. “This is not to take anything away from his accomplishments. But he lost [that] night, and I really believe the best fight for both guys is to fight each other again.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.