Dillian Whyte admitted he was far from at his best as he returned with a unanimous decision win over Mariusz Wach on Saturday night in Saudi Arabia.
On the undercard of the Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua rematch, Whyte overcame an eye injury and entered the ring just a day after being cleared of his UKAD charge to triumph on points.
The fight began with Wach taking centre-ring and attempting to use his height and reach advantages to control the Brit.
However, it didn’t take too long for Whyte to find his way inside and he landed several significant hooks to head and body before ending the first with a strong right hand which caught his opponent’s attention.
In the second, the ‘Body Snatcher’ countered the ‘Viking’ effectively on the inside.
Although the big Pole wasn’t completely without success of his own, he appeared to be wearing down under the onslaught.
The pair exchanged hooks in the third, with Whyte sending Wach staggering backwards for a brief period, though he was not badly hurt.
At the beginning of the fourth, the 31-year-old favourite was dabbing at the right side of his face, which would later swell, as he apparently took a thumb to the eye from the underdog.
Whyte’s body shots dictated this round before Wach had his best session of the fight in the fifth as he came forwards and was able to put shots together on the Brit.
The ‘Body Snatcher’ responded by regaining control in the sixth and seventh, though both men had started to look sluggish in truth.
Entering the final three rounds of the scheduled ten rounder, the pace had slowed significantly.
Whyte saw out the remainder, but wasn’t completely untroubeld as Wach pushed him back at the end of the eighth.
The last three minutes became a firefight as the ‘Viking’ threw everything he had left and was met strongly by the ‘Body Snatcher’ who had him hurt in the final minute.
Wach survived to the final bell, but when the scorecards were read out Whyte was declared the winner by unanimous decision: 98-93, 97-93, 97-93.
Whyte explained post fight: “I boxed nowhere near my standard, I’ve been off for six months. My mind hasn’t been in the right place.
“I took this fight at four weeks’ notice. I came in about a stone and a half overweight.
“I’ve been through hell these last couple of months, but I’m here, I’m sticking around, I’m tough as old boots.
“Sorry guys I didn’t get the knockout, but I feel great to even get to the fight.”