Before his fight with Jermaine Franklin on Saturday in London, Dillian Whyte fiercely refuted the notion that he is a "wounded lion."
After a disagreement with Franklin's promoter Dmitry Salita, security dragged Whyte away from a face off. During a news conference on Thursday, Franklin coach Jesse Addison referred to Whyte as a "wounded lion prowling the jungle." Whyte retaliated by imitating the American and insisting that his "fire never goes out."
The heavyweight rivals will square off at the OVO Arena in Wembley on Saturday evening in a critical match for both men. Franklin, 29, is undefeated in 21 fights but remains largely unknown as a top heavyweight since he has yet to face a seasoned opponent. Whyte, 34, is fighting for the first time since being knocked out by Tyson Fury in their WBC heavyweight world title bout in April.
Franklin took a back seat throughout the press conference, saying little when called upon, and Whyte followed Franklin's lead, declaring he had no intention of "underestimating" his opponent.
Whyte was plainly enraged by the charge that his best days were behind him after losses to Fury, Alexander Povetkin, and Anthony Joshua. And tensions erupted during the usual brawl when Salita got embroiled in the verbal sparring.
Whyte and Salita shoved each other, prompting security to come in and separate the two squads, however Franklin remained emotionless, seemingly undisturbed by the insults flying around him.
Eddie Hearn later stated that Salita was pressing Franklin to inform Whyte that he would knock him out, which triggered the heated outburst.
If Whyte wins, he will be able to pursue a rematch with long-time rival Joshua, who will make his