Dillian Whyte is a man who has been fighting his entire life, from his early days starving in Jamaica to his teen years spent engaged in treacherous turf wars in South London.
He continues to fight, but in the right place on the inside of the ropes, where he has played both the pantomime villain and the unheralded hero.
BBN dug up some interesting facts about the tough guy who rose to fame for his famous amateur win and subsequent bitter rivalry with Anthony Joshua:
1. Born on April 11th 1988 in Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica, Dillian’s mother left him with another family and moved to London when he was just two-years-old. She sent money home for him, but he found himself scavenging for food and stealing until he rejoined her in South London when he was 12. When looking back at his life in Jamaica, he remembers not eating for days and being left with people who didn't care for him, even saying that they were taking the money his mother was sending him back and claiming that they weren't receiving any payments.
2. His dad tried to teach him lessons in life in Jamaica to prepare him for manhood, one such lesson was when he was 200metres from a beach and he threw Dillian out of their boat even though he knew he couldn’t swim. The youngster called for his dad but he told him to swim or drown and just kept on rowing, so he started swimming for the first time and survived the harsh examination.
3. He joined his mother in Brixton and admits to having no schooling at all before moving to England. Dillian was soon caught up in violent gang wars around Tulse Hill and was stabbed three times as a teenager; first time was when he was just 13-years-old and thought it was cool so would lift up his shirt to show his mates. He confesses to having to duck down on the bus when travelling through certain areas so he wouldn’t be seen by rival gangs.
It was one summer night in Clapham when he was shot in the leg twice for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he would go on to be shot on another occasion but keeps that story very close to his chest. He pulled the bullet from his body with pliers and sterilised the wound himself, desperate for his mother not to find out.
4. His wayward life began to change when he was in prison in Bristol in his late teens, facing a 20-year sentence, when his visiting mother cried and told him she didn’t want to lose another son after his older brother had died. Despite being a bad lad, he never liked to disappoint his mum and the visit soon began to change his outlook on life.
5. His youth worker took him to nearby Miguel’s Gym and he soon started in professional kick boxing with a record of nine wins and one loss and held the BIKMA British super-heavyweight title and the European K1 title. He also competed in mixed martial arts professionally, making his debut at the Ultimate Challenge MMA event at The Troxy in December 2008 against Mark Stroud and winning by KO in just 12 seconds.
6. His first amateur boxing fight was in 2009, aged 20, when he knocked down and beat Anthony Joshua by unanimous decision over three rounds. Trainer Chris Okoh wished for Whyte to remain an amateur but a dispute with the ABA over his previous professional fighting background and having put an amateur opponent in a coma - who came round safely after four weeks - led him to turn pro under Frank Maloney. Okoh had complete confidence in his student, who won all six amateur bouts - five by knockout - after holding his own against a 10-0 Dereck Chisora in sparring.
7. His professional boxing debut was in May 2011 at Medway Park in Gillingham against Bulgarian Tayar Mehmed (4-10-1) which he won on points on a Frank Maloney Promotions event, which also featured Brian Rose in his first ever title fight against Martin Welsh for the English super-welterweight championship, which Rose won via TKO.
8. He raced to nine bouts unbeaten with six stoppages before he was forced to serve a two-year ban between 2012-2014 for using the substance methylhexanearmine. Within one year of his return, he had knocked out all seven of his opponents and lined up a lucrative British and Commonwealth title fight with Anthony Joshua.
9. He won his first professional title in his 16th bout with a third-round knockout over American Brian Minto for the WBC Silver International heavyweight title. He then went on to win the WBC International heavyweight title in his 19th bout in 2016 and the British belt on his second attempt later that same year. In October 2017, he won the vacant WBC Silver heavyweight strap with a unanimous points win over Robert Helenius and successfully defended the belt with a sixth-round KO of Aussie Lucas Browne five months later in March 2018. His next fight against Joseph Parker on July 28 could award him with his fifth professional title, in the form of the WBO International, should he beat the New Zealander.
10. 'The Lone Wolf's' early alias in his boxing career was ‘Dillian the Villain’, which was soon changed to ‘The Body Snatcher’, but now the 30-year-old father of three calls himself the ‘King of South London’.