Dillian Whyte was floored in the ninth round, but the Englishman climbed off the canvas to eventually prevail by unanimous decision.
Dillian Whyte recovered from a ninth-round knockdown to become the mandatory challenger for the WBC heavyweight belt after defeating Oscar Rivas.
Whyte (26-1) was floored in the ninth round, but the Englishman climbed off the canvas to eventually prevail by unanimous decision in London on Saturday.
The judges scored the fight 115-112, 115-112, 116-111 at O2 Arena as Whyte – who dominated with his jab until being stunned by a right uppercut – handed Colombian boxer Rivas (26-1) his first professional loss.
Whyte, without defeat since his only loss to Anthony Joshua in 2015, is now set to face the winner of title holder Deontay Wilder’s rematch with Tyson Fury.
Unbeaten American star Wilder must first beat Luis Ortiz on November 9.
“We’ll see what happens. I’ve been the number one contender for over 600 days, so let’s see,” said Whyte, who became the WBC interim champion.
“To beat these kind of guys, I just keep showing up. I outboxed a world-class fighter, I dominated the fight.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn now wants to ensure Whyte gets his title shot before May 2020, adding: “People have tried to deny him and now he’s the official mandatory challenger.
“He’s the WBC’s interim champion and for the first time, their mandatory challenger. His shot will come, it’s just a case of when.
“We need to keep pressing the WBC and he must fight for the title before May 2020. In the meantime, he will fight again in November or December before that fight in May.”