What’s Next For Dillian Whyte After Failed Drug Test Clearance?

March 4, 2024
3 months
Dillian Whyte

British heavyweight Dillian Whyte was cleared to resume his career on Sunday after an investigation into a positive drug test confirmed that it had been caused by a contaminated supplement.

Whyte was scheduled for a rematch with Anthony Joshua last August but returned “adverse analytical findings” in a drug test from the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). It was the third time in his career that Whyte had failed a drug test; the first, in 2012, led to a two-year suspension even after an independent panel agreed that he unknowingly consumed a banned substance.

However, the second – in 2019 – and now the third failed tests have both been overturned following lengthy investigations that have stalled Whyte’s career and left him significantly out of pocket.

Unsurprisingly, Whyte is seeking compensation and damages from the pharmaceutical company that made the supplement, but he said his primary focus is getting his career back on track. At a time of busy activity in the heavyweight division thanks to Saudi Arabia’s involvement, Whyte will no doubt be desperate to make up for lost time.

So, what does the future hold for ‘The Body Snatcher’? And what sort of fights should he be targeting as he aims to return from more than 16 months of inactivity?

A High-Profile Domestic Bout

At the time of writing, Whyte’s rankings with the four world organizations have not yet been reinstated. Once he discovers his rankings with the WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBA then he will have a clearer picture of what his immediate options might be.

Still, having not fought since a majority decision win over Jermaine Franklin in November 2022, Whyte should be looking at a competitive tune-up fight before reigniting his world title aspirations. What better way to return to the ring and secure a lucrative purse than with a high-profile domestic bout?

Joe Joyce, who returns from his twin stoppage defeats to Zhilei Zhang with a bout against Kash Ali this month, would be a worthy opponent and a big enough name to draw in live and television audiences in the UK.

Daniel Dubois, awaiting his next opponent since his thrilling late knockout of Jarrell Miller in December, checks plenty of boxes, while Fabio Wardley and Frazer Clarke contest the British and Commonwealth titles on March 31. Either would provide an intriguing test for Whyte, although his close relationship with Wardley would likely scupper a potential fight between them.

Then there’s always Derek Chisora, whom Whyte beat in two classics and would likely be interested in a lucrative trilogy bout.

All of that is to say there are plenty of domestic rivals for Whyte to make his comeback against.

Long-Awaited Wilder Bout

Whyte and Deontay Wilder have traded insults for years, ever since the British fighter was convinced the American tried to duck him during his time as WBC world champion.

Whyte was the mandatory challenger to the WBC title for more than 1,600 days, but once his wait was over, Wilder had lost the title to Tyson Fury. Whyte then lost by a sixth-round knockout to Fury in April 2022 in the only world title fight of his career.

Much has changed since then, with both Whyte and Wilder looking to rebuild their careers; Whyte from his latest suspension, and Wilder from his embarrassingly one-sided points defeat to Joseph Parker in December.

While the fight naturally won’t hold the same appeal as when Wilder was champion and Whyte was in his prime, a high-stakes bout with both careers on the line would still generate plenty of interest.

The Joshua Rematch

Whyte was just weeks away from his rematch with Joshua when the positive drug test collapsed the fight. That match-up could still be made this year, with AJ likely required to bide his time for a shot at a world title.

As Fury and Oleksandr Usyk prepare for their undisputed showdown on May 18 and a subsequent rematch, it is not yet clear if the IBF will order the winner to vacate the title if they are unable to fulfill mandatory duties against No 1 challenger Filip Hrgovic. If the title is vacated, it is expected to be contested by Hrgovic and Joshua, but if it’s not, it could clear the path for a Whyte vs Joshua rematch.

Their first bout back in 2015 was a great spectacle and ended with Whyte knocked out cold in the seventh round. Both fighters have improved and matured since then, so a rematch would make for compelling viewing.

Other Tune-Up Options

Challenging for world titles is surely a long way off for Whyte, given his respective standing in the heavyweight division and the long line of challengers arguably more deserving of a shot. Parker or Zhang aren’t immediate options as they are contracted to a rematch for Zhang’s WBA interim title following their first bout on the Joshua vs Francis Ngannou undercard on March 8.

Instead, Whyte could opt for a more low-key tune-up fight against someone like Kubrat Pulev, Otto Wallin, or Robert Helenius.

Whichever direction Whyte chooses to go, he will be keen to get his career back up and running after the latest setback.