In the mad world of Tyson Fury antagonist Dillian Whyte, who was shot and stabbed… and is one of the youngest dads alive

IF Tyson Fury steps into the ring tonight, he will take on a boxer who has recovered from far harder blows than even the Gypsy King could land on him.

Dillian Whytes formative years would have crushed lesser mortals forever.

Tyson Fury's opponent Dillian Whyte survived being shot and stabbed three times in a gang war


Tyson Fury’s opponent Dillian Whyte survived being shot and stabbed three times in a gang warPhoto credit: Getty
Dillian and Tyson Fury back when they were sparring partners


Dillian and Tyson Fury back when they were sparring partnersPhoto credit: Instagram

The British heavyweight saw his father’s throat cut and was beaten by his father after his mother abandoned him at his childhood home in Jamaica when he was two years old to escape crushing poverty.

Even after Dillian came to London to live with his beloved mother at the age of 12, his turbulence didn’t stop.

The 6ft 3in tall 18th boxer, now 34, became one of the country’s youngest fathers at 13, used pincers to remove a bullet from his leg after he was shot in a gang war and was stabbed three times.

So it’s fair to say that opposite Fury‘s fists in an all-British record £31million fight in front of 94,000 at Wembley Stadium for the WBC crown isn’t the scariest situation he’s found himself in.

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The undefeated Fury is the clear favorite but his opponent, who has only lost twice in his 30-fight professional career, is not to be underestimated.

Nicknamed The Body Snatcher, he is a former kickboxing champion and mixed martial artist who comatose an amateur opponent.

Like Fury, 33, he was suspended for doping after being banned for two years in 2012 for accidentally taking a banned stimulant.

Yet just being alive is a miracle, let alone having a shot at ultimate boxing glory.

Dillian said this week: “I didn’t think I would be alive after 20 or that I would be in prison for some murders or something crazy.

“I didn’t think I would be alive because that was the lifestyle that was forced upon me because of my upbringing and the things I was exposed to.”

Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, and one of 12 children, Dillian discovered early on that life was not going to be easy.

His mother Jerroleen went to England in search of better paying work as an NHS nurse. He stayed behind and lived with another family.

She sent money back for her son, but the family kept it. He had to sell used bottle caps to buy groceries and later helped his father on fishing trips.

Although Dillian could not swim, his father once threw him overboard 200 meters offshore.

Dillian saw things children shouldn’t see, including his father having his throat cut during a card game.

He recalled: “He was winning and doing his thing and this guy came up from behind and cut his throat.

“Blood splattered everywhere. He punched the guy anyway and knocked him unconscious. But he was bleeding everywhere and was about to pass out.”

But instead of fainting, his brave dad tucked his winnings into his underwear, then wrapped a towel around his neck to stop the bleeding.

“My dad was really crazy,” says Dillian.

After being separated from his mother for a decade, she arranged for Dillian and his “brother” Dean to join her in Brixton, south London, to join his brothers and sisters.


But that only led to more problems for the boy, who had been denied an education in Jamaica and was struggling here at school.

Not one to back down, he got into fights and eventually joined gangs.

Rivals tried to stab him as Dillian rode the bus through their area, and he was shot in the leg as he strayed into nearby Clapham.

Instead of going to the hospital, Dillian pulled the bullet out with pliers.

He says: “I got the bullet out and hid. It was out of respect for my mother. I never wanted to bring the police to her house.”

In his late teens, Dillian found himself in Bristol prison awaiting trial and facing up to 20 years behind bars after one argument too many.

A visit from his tearful mother made him realize he needed to change his ways.

He said: “My older brother died and she said she didn’t want to lose another son.

“I looked at my mother’s face and the tears rolling down her cheeks and I felt bad, I was ashamed.”

There was another reason to leave Gangs – parenthood.

Now with four kids, he said: “I was a father at 13, so I had to grow up a lot quicker. When you become a father, everything changes.

Where most of the kids were running around, I work two jobs and do other things to get money to feed my kids.

“There have been attempts on my life. I never want my family, my brothers, my sister, my kids to have to go through these things.”

A job as a bouncer at the club couldn’t have been safer. Dillian said: “I was finishing work at a club and I came home and a guy jumped out of a bush in front of my house and started firing a submachine gun. I just had to run.”

He needed a better way to make a living. Then a friend introduced him to kickboxing and he turned pro in his late teens.

He became European Champion and fought in mixed martial arts, then he discovered his passion for boxing.

In his first amateur fight at age 20, he knocked out future heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

He won seven more fights and turned pro in 2011.

An impressive start was derailed a year later when he tested positive for a banned substance after a win over Hungary’s Sandor Balogh.


He had been using Jack3D, an energy supplement sold legally in the UK but banned for athletes because of its performance-enhancing ingredients.
Relaxed guy

An anti-doping panel accepted it was an innocent mistake, but the boxer was nevertheless banned for two years.

Unlike Tyson Fury, who struggles with drinking, Dillian is a clean-living athlete.

He says: “I’m a pretty laid-back guy. When I’m not working out, I’m just spending time with my family.

“I’m not a party type. I don’t smoke or drink. Alcohol just isn’t for me. I haven’t had a drink in 16, 17 years. It’s just discipline.”

Dillian keeps his love life a secret, but he’s known Italian bodybuilder Carolina Pasquali for about five years and shares her passion for fitness.

They are said to have met at Loughborough University, where Dillian was training and she was playing rugby.

His dedication to preparing for big fights means Dillian is away from Carolina for a long time, and he told The Sun: “I’m not a better fighter because I left my family, I’m a better fighter now because i have so much more experience.

“I work out and live right.” Despite the years they spent apart, he is very close to his mother now, saying, “She’s my hero. She is probably the strongest woman there is.

“Raised all 12 of us by herself and worked three jobs. She is a nurse, but she used to be a dinner lady at school and a night cleaner.

“My eldest sister, Debbie, is also a nurse and works 12-hour shifts on Covid wards.

“You have seen so many bad things in this pandemic.

“So on my tough days, I think of my mom and my sister. Boxing is difficult, but they do much more strenuous work.”

His rise to the top has suffered only two setbacks – first when he lost to old rival Joshua in the seventh round in 2015, then a loss to Russian Alexander Povetkin two years ago.

Dillian’s bid for the world heavyweight belt is long overdue.

Tyson has fought with him and knows he deserves respect, admitting this week: “If I’m not my A-game, that man is going to bang my head right off my shoulders.”

Since they’re on friendly terms, this isn’t a grudge game, but the contender will try to put on a show for the fans.

Dillian said: “Victory by any means, I will do that. I’m not afraid to take risks.

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“It means everything to fight for the world title in my home country. It’s massive.

“Me and he didn’t expect to be here – especially me.”

Dillian has been dating Italian bodybuilder Carolina Pasquali for about five years


Dillian has been dating Italian bodybuilder Carolina Pasquali for about five yearsPhoto credit: Instagram / @carolinapasquali
Dillian grew up in Jamaica, one of 12 children


Dillian grew up in Jamaica, one of 12 children
Dillian's mother Jerroleen poses with his WBC belt


Dillian’s mother Jerroleen poses with his WBC belt In the mad world of Tyson Fury antagonist Dillian Whyte, who was shot and stabbed… and is one of the youngest dads alive


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