Dillian Whyte lifts lid on life as a sparring partner for heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko
Last Updated: 07/07/15 4:05pm
With Wladimir Klitschko's defence against Tyson Fury confirmed, Dillian Whyte tells Sky Sports about life in the champ's camp.
Klitschko will be shut away from the watching world in a few weeks' time, taking himself to a 68th training camp to ready body and mind for his latest heavyweight title clash against Fury on October 24.
The 39-year-old Ukrainian continues to dominate the division in the absence of retired older brother Vitali and is well accustomed to the brutal preparations that precede any defence of his WBA, IBF and WBO belts.
Whyte, an unbeaten prospect, has seen first-hand how the Klitschkos sharpen their skills during numerous sessions as a sparring partner and here, he offers an insight into the harsh reality of sharing a ring with Wladimir.
"All Wladimir cares about is preparing for his fight the best way he can," Whyte told Sky Sports. "If that means knocking out a couple of sparring partners, he doesn't care.
All Wladimir cares about is preparing for his fight the best way he can. If that means knocking out a couple of sparring partners, he doesn't care.
"He brings a lot of guys to sparring, because I think he wants to knock a few people out. One week there was 15 people there and then it went down to 10.
"It's good sparring. I've been three times and I've never been down. People can say whatever they want - it's sparring - but for me it's an achievement. I've seen lots of guys get decked.
"I've ended every session standing, no black eyes, no broken nose, no busted mouth. That did a lot for my confidence."
Firstly hired by Vitali, Whyte helped the former WBC king prepare for his last fight - a stoppage win over Manuel Charr in 2012.
Months later, the Londoner was welcomed back to the Klitschkos' Austrian training base, although this time he would be trading punches with Wladimir.
He noticed stark differences between the two siblings, inside and outside the ring.
"As a human being, Vitali is a bit more of a people person. Wladimir is okay too, but Vitali will sit and make jokes with the other guys.
"Wladimir is more businesslike in his training camp. A lot of guys don't like getting too close to their sparring partners because they find it hard to spar with them.
"As fighters, Vitali was a better up-close fighter, even though he was the taller guy. He didn't mind getting into the dog house and having it with a shorter guy, which can be a danger zone.
"Wladimir likes to keep it long, keep it moving, keep it strict boxing and use his jab and big right hands."
Gradually, Whyte gained a better understanding of the younger Klitschko, sharing the occasional conversation with the long-reigning champion and picking up valuable advice.
He has witnessed Wladimir's unwavering dedication to the sport on return trips to his camps and clearly holds him in the highest regard.
"He's a massive inspiration to me," said Whyte. "Before I didn't really look up to him much, I thought he was alright and looked up to Vitali more.
"But now I have a high appreciation of what Wladimir does at his age, his work ethic. His professionalism is second to none.
"Sometimes he does 12 rounds and then he'll do another three. He spars four days a week religiously, non-stop, every day 12 or 15 rounds.
"For me, that was a big shock, seeing how he does it day in, day out. He's still got that hunger, desire and discipline after all that he's achieved."
Despite his genuine respect for Wladimir, Whyte refuses to write off Fury, the latest in a long line of challengers to Klitschko's throne.
Standing 6'9" tall and boasting an unbeaten record, Fury will not suffer from the same sense of trepidation as some of Klitschko's previous opponents - and Whyte insists the 26-year-old is well capable of pulling off a famous win in Düsseldorf.
"I think at Wladimir's age now, Tyson Fury might be the guy to beat him," he said. "Fury is a bit wild, a bit erratic, a bit crazy. No-one knows what he's going to do. He might come out southpaw, he might come out swinging, he might come out behind his jab.
"Tyson is a bit unpredictable and I don't think Wladimir likes an unpredictable fighter. He's beaten everybody that has been put in front of him, apart from a couple of guys, but I don't think he does well with guys that do erratic things.
"I think Fury stands a very good chance if he trains hard.
"What are you going to do against a man who is 26, who is bigger than you, outweighs you by almost 100 pounds or whatever and comes out swinging like he's 5ft 11?
"Tyson has been down before and so has Wladimir, so it could be who lands first.
"That fight is much better than Deontay Wilder against Tyson Fury. Klitschko versus Tyson Fury will be a barnstormer."