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Hearn: Whyte followed protocol before Rivas fight

The Briton was stripped of his interim heavyweight title amid a doping scandal, but his promoter is convinced he is innocent.

Eddie Hearn is sure of Dillian Whyte's innocence
Eddie Hearn is sure of Dillian Whyte's innocence

EDDIE HEARN HAS come to the defence of Dillian Whyte, insisting the fighter did not break any rules ahead of his bout with Oscar Rivas.

Whyte was stripped of his WBC interim heavyweight title and status as mandatory challenger to champion Deontay Wilder on Tuesday, after climbing off the canvas to beat Rivas on points 10 days earlier.

The victory earned him a shot at Wilder, but Whyte’s triumph was plunged into controversy when it was reported the 31-year-old tested positive for a banned substance before the bout.

Promoter Hearn stated Whyte had been cleared to fight by the UK Anti-Doping Agency (Ukad), the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (Vada), which also tested both boxers in the build-up to the contest.

Whyte insisted he beat Rivas “fair and square”, and Hearn has stood by his fighter in the wake of the ruling.

Hearn told talkSPORT: “As I’ve said in the whole process of this, I feel particularly that we followed all the rules, all the process.

And on Dillian Whyte, protocol was followed. He had a hearing, he was cleared [to box] at that hearing.

“But he has to make sure that everything is done properly now with his legal team, and I keep getting told off for even opening my mouth.

This has to come out with all the facts and he has to prove his innocence because, as far as I’m concerned, everyone’s just presumed he’s guilty anyway.

“The confidential facts – between the two parties until the case comes out – is that no-one really knows all the facts.

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“But what I keep saying to people is just understand that a hearing was had with an independent panel where he was cleared to box. Ask yourself why he was cleared, perhaps there’s a very good chance that they saw the evidence that meant that he was innocent.”

Although he affirmed his belief in Whyte’s innocence, Hearn acknowledged the boxer must be handed a severe punishment should he be found guilty.

“If he’s found to be innocent, completely innocent, which right now you can’t say he’s not, then great,” Hearn added.

“If he’s found to be guilty and he has done something wrong, which in my heart of hearts I don’t believe so, then he should be banned from the sport.

Anybody that cheats in the sport of boxing should be.”

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