Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn
Ruiz Jr vs Joshua 2: Dillian Whyte defeats Mariusz Wach via unanimous decision
Watch repeats of Ruiz Jr v Joshua 2 at 8am and 2pm on Sunday
Last Updated: 08/12/19 9:11am
Dillian Whyte won a bruising encounter with Mariusz Wach via unanimous decision to rejuvenate his world title aspirations.
The British heavyweight contender had to scrap at times, but won widely to remain alive in the race for championships 24 hours after he was cleared by UK Anti-Doping, having always maintained his innocence amid claims of an "adverse finding" surrounding his points win over Oscar Rivas in July.
Whyte admitted post-fight: "I boxed nowhere near my standard. I took this fight at late notice and came in overweight but I knew I could get through the rounds.
"I've been through hell these last couple of months, but we're here and back."
He found his range with a stiff right hand towards the end of the opening round, before opening up more in the second whenever Wach came towards him.
Wach, a 39-year-old who had challenged for Wladimir Klitschko's world titles and also shared a ring with Alexander Povetkin, Jarrell 'Big Baby' Miller and Martin Bakole, hit Whyte with some solid punches at the end of the fifth.
But Whyte's output was higher - both men had arrived at their career-heaviest (Whyte was 19st 5lbs, almost a stone more than his previous outing) owing to the short-notice of this fight.
Wach caught Whyte with a left hook in the final exchange of the eighth and the London heavyweight stumbled briefly.
Whyte roared back angrily in the ninth by unleashing everything that he had left at Wach, but the experienced Pole returned fire.
The final say was Whyte's - in the final 45 seconds he clearly shook Wach whose legs became unsteady. Whyte hunted the knockout but ran out of time, although he deservedly earned the judges' nod (scores of 98-93 and 97-93 twice).
He will now hope to challenge for a world heavyweight title for the first time after resolving his issue with UKAD and adding another win to his record. The WBC had suspended his status as mandatory challenger to the title owned by Deontay Wilder but Whyte will again campaign for an opportunity.
Wilder first expects to rematch Tyson Fury in February.
Watch Ruiz v Joshua 2 repeats on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 8am and 2pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren't a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it here.