It was a shocking sight to see Oscar Rivas’ last fight, as the Columbian heavyweight scored a big knockout over former title challenger Bryant Jennings at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on January 18th. Jennings was being groomed on his comeback trail by Top Rank yet he succumbed to Rivas’ power in the 12th and final round.
The victory by “Kaboom” Rivas paid off for him plenty, as he now has a big shot vs. a legitimate threat in Dillian Whyte. The two men will face off on July 20th from the O2 Arena in London and one would have to think that a title shot would be just around the corner for the winner.
Whyte is coming off of a late round knockout himself, as the “Body Snatcher” stopped Derek Chisora in his last outing. In a rematch that lived up to the hype, Whyte stopped his rival in the 11th round to keep his title hopes alive.
The 31-year-old Whyte has only lost to IBF, WBA, WBO champion Anthony Joshua and will be going for a tenth straight win against Rivas. Whyte has also defeated Joseph Parker, Robert Helenius and Lucas Browne during his run.
Rivas represents another stiff test and you can tell Whyte is locked in.
“I am very happy to be fighting again at The O2 in July,” said Whyte. “Oscar Rivas is undefeated and ranked in the top 10 across the board of all the governing bodies. He has been one of the most avoided heavyweight fighters in the last few years.”
Whyte saw Rivas storm out and blast away Jennings in their fight and was left impressed.
“His KO victory over Bryant Jennings sent shockwaves through the division and Tyson Fury just turned down ESPN/Top Rank’s offer to fight him,” Whyte said. “I am over the moon that he has accepted the fight. He has a great amateur and professional record, including a win over Kubrat Pulev.”
For Whyte, he is hoping this showdown leads to him facing one of the division’s champions.
“I am more than happy to carry on fighting top 10 fighters like Rivas until I get my well-earned shot at Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua,” said Whyte.
The Canadian-based 31 year old Rivas is known for an impressive amateur run that saw him beat Kubrat Pulev in the 2008 Olympic Games but he wants to make his mark as a pro.
“I can’t wait until July 20 to fight again at The O2 which is one of the best venues in the world for boxing,” said Rivas. “I have waited for this opportunity for a very long time.”
“Dillian Whyte is an excellent boxer, a World class fighter and the number one contender,” said Rivas. “He deserve all my respect for his accomplishments and I am grateful for the opportunity he is giving me.”
There were rumors going around that Rivas would be possible as an opponent for Tyson Fury, but he seems pleased to face off with Whyte.
“This is exactly the kind of challenge I was hoping to get,” said Rivas. “I am undefeated, I am planning to keep my perfect record after July 20 in my quest to get the ultimate opportunity to become World champion.”
Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing is one of the busiest promoters around and broke down the matchup.
“This is a great fight with both men coming off explosive late knockouts,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Rivas is undefeated and looking to take Dillian’s number one spot but as we know, The O2 has become a fortress for him of late and this is set to be another war. We are planning a huge night of boxing on July 20 with a monster card topped by the brilliant heavyweight headliner.”
Whyte vs Rivas is just the kind of fight that keeps the heavyweight division alive. You can expect a night full of drama and action, with the winner possibly in line for a shot at either Wilder, Joshua, or Fury.