Has Dillian Whyte shot himself in the foot by axing trainer Mark Tibbs?

Relationships between fighters and trainers in the world of boxing can often sour and no one who has worked in the industry will ever try and tell you that they are for better or for worse. Far from it, they almost always revolve around what is best for the fighter with the trainer often left out in the cold after a bad performance. 

Indeed, they are the first to go after a defeat or even a win that was too close for comfort, as Tyson Fury demonstrated after parting ways with trainer Ben Davison in 2019 after recording a string of wins that were far from convincing. It’s a cut-throat business and the latest to find that out was Dillan Whyte’s now-former trainer Mark Tibbs, who was let go via email in July after working together for four years.

Whyte cited geographical reasons for the parting of ways as the 32-year-old moved his training camp to Portugal whilst Tibbs was in London focusing on his gym. It’s hard to say for sure either way what has gone on but the timing, to say the very least, is extremely curious with Whyte scheduled to fight in a month’s time against Alexander Povetkin. 

You can only imagine that Whyte is so convinced that he has Povetkin’s number that a change of trainer at the eleventh hour won’t change the outcome. He may be right, at odds of 2/7 to win the fight in boxing betting he is certainly the overwhelming favourite, but there is an air of complacency about this decision that does make one raise an eyebrow. Only the result will say for sure if this was the right call.

Mark Tibbs, you see, was the man to get Whyte back on track after being knocked out by Anthony Joshua in 2015. Back on track may actually be downplaying it to a significant degree as Whyte would record eleven straight victories with Tibbs in his corner and in doing so, make himself the mandatory challenger for the WBC championship. Going unbeaten since 2016 is an incredible feat after many thought that the end was nigh after being brutally beaten by Joshua. 

Deciding to let Tibbs go after such a successful collaboration together could open the door for Povetkin when before it appeared to be slammed shut and bolted closed. Any sort of disruption and change in style will only serve to assist Povetkin in overcoming an opponent who looked unbeatable at the start of July.

Of course, Dillian Whyte may well know best and is perfectly entitled to decide the way forward in his career, as he has done so now. Professional sport though is packed full of cautionary tales about changing a winning formula and how detrimental it can be in the long run.

All eyes will be on the upcoming bout between the Englishman and the Russian in Brentwood now that the playing fields have been ever so slightly levelled. Time will tell if Whyte made the right decision but the worry is that if he didn’t, an extremely painful lesson will be taught by the vicious Povetkin.

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