Dillian Whyte Set To Return In Ireland On March 17

Dillian Whyte is returning to the ring immediately following the recent ruling that his adverse result for a banned substance that scrapped last year’s fight against Anthony Joshua was the result of a contaminated supplement.

BoxingScene has learned Whyte, on March 17 in Ireland, has signed to meet the highly experienced, durable Christian Hammer.

The bout will headline a card titled, “Once Upon a Time in the West,” at TF Royal Hotel & Theatre in Castlebar, Ireland.

“I am excited to be back,” Whyte said. “Especially to have my first fight in Ireland, which has long been a dream of mine. The last time I was in Ireland was to support Carl Frampton when he fought Chris Avalos and there was a brilliant atmosphere in the arena, and the people everywhere were amazingly warm and friendly.

“I have only had four fights over the last four years and so I need to get active again. Look how well Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua are doing now with decent activity.”

Whyte’s trainer Buddy McGirt said they are ready to turn the page away from the negativity of Whyte’s layoff.

“Listen, we don’t dwell on it. We keep looking ahead to keep the train rolling,” McGirt told BoxingScene Monday.

At 35, the former WBC Interim World Champion and long-standing WBC No. 1 heavyweight title contender Whyte (29-3, 19 KOs) fought to clear his name following the drug test that forced him off an August rematch against former three-belt heavyweight champion Joshua.

Sunday, Sky Sports first reported that an official review of the adverse finding led to an expert reporting, “Mr. Whyte was the victim of a contaminated supplement that did not disclose [the contaminant] among its ingredients and he did not ingest the [contaminant] intentionally.”

McGirt said Whyte has remained dedicated to training, and “he’s shed a lot of weight getting back on track.

“I still believe he can be a world champion and long as he keeps doing what we’re working on.”

Whyte hasn’t fought since a late 2022 majority decision triumph over Jermaine Franklin. Seven months before that, Whyte was stopped by heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in the sixth round.

Whyte has previously defeated former champion Joseph Parker and two-time title challenger Alexander Povetkin.

Whyte told SkySports being sidelined for so long was “really tough, because I knew I was innocent. … You can’t talk, you can’t say nothing. You have to be professional, trust the process, trust the lawyers and trust the people around you. It’s been tough, but tough times make tough men.

“First of all, I’m relieved more than anything, but of course I’m angry as well because it’s cost me so much. The most important thing is it cost me the chance to beat A.J. Everything else after that is secondary, but you know it’s a mix of emotions.”

Joshua proceeded to knock out replacement foe Robert Helenius and the Brit parlayed a convincing triumph over Otto Wallin in December into a Saturday showdown against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.

Meanwhile, Whyte has been shelved.

“I’m angry and I’m disappointed, as well, because people in this game don’t give you a chance to prove yourself,” he told SkySports. “Everybody is quick to say, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,’ … .”

Given the resurrection of the heavyweight division over the past decade – and particularly the importance of the heavyweight bouts in Saudi Arabia – Whyte is returning at a sublime time, with an abundance of intriguing opponent options.

His timing might be impeccable, perhaps landing him a crack in the coming Eddie Hearn Matchroom Boxing versus Frank Warren Queensberry Boxing “5X5” tournament.

“Hopefully, now that Saudi Arabia appears to have opened up boxing and the promoters are finally working together and making the fights that need to be made, I will finally get to have some of the fights I’ve been chasing for years,” Whyte said. “First things first. I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day and will take it from there.”