Before his rise in the boxing world, Dillian Whyte once showed his chops in the MMA arena.
Whyte faces Tyson Fury this weekend in what is set to be a blockbuster British boxing bout. A record crowd has been tipped to file into the stands at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night to see if the Body Snatcher can do what Deontay Wilder couldn't in three attempts.
But it might not be happening at all had Whyte decided to go down a different fork on his career path in his younger days. After all, it seems he had the chance to build on a pretty promising start to a mixed-martial arts career.
It came about from his background as a gifted kickboxer. Whyte turned pro in that discipline and went on to become a two-time British champion. In 21 matches he tasted defeat just once, and was the top ranked fighter at 95kg+ for five years straight.
In 2008 he decided to take his kickboxing skills and to enter the world of MMA, which was enjoying a boost in popularity among mainstream sports fans. He would enter a cage just once in his short-lived career, but what a memorable night it was.
Whyte fought against fellow Brit Mark Stroud in December that year, on the undercard of a meeting between James McSweeney and Neil Grove. There wasn't much action for the fans to take in, though, as the fight was over inside 15 seconds.
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Stroud made the mistake of trying to trade blows with Whyte, and was made to pay the price almost immediately. After a couple of failed swings at his opponent, Stroud was clocked on the chin and fell to his knees, before White smacked him with another big right hand to knock him out cold with 12 seconds on the timer.
The referee came rushing over to wave off the fight and Whyte was left to celebrate in front of the spectators after a brief but formidable display of punching power.
Some might have questioned his decision to quit MMA following that impressive debut, but hindsight has proven it to be a good call.
For Whyte has become one of the best heavyweight boxers around, and now has his shot at taking the WBC world title from Fury. His promoter Eddie Hearn believes it is that power that gives him a good chance of achieving that goal.
"On paper right now, Tyson Fury is the best heavyweight in the world, but Dillian Whyte can beat anybody on his day," Hearn said. "Sometimes when you look at a fight and you say, 'How can they win?' He can knock Tyson Fury out.
"Dillian Whyte has the power one-punch power, and he's a fantastic body puncher as well to knock someone out. Any heavyweight in the division, he has the power to knock them out."
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