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Whyte survives knockdown to beat Rivas

Dillian Whyte celebrates his victory after defeating Oscar Rivas on points in the WBC interim Heavyweight title fight at the O2 Arena, in London, Saturday, July 20, 2019. (Bradley Collyer/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) Dillian Whyte survived a ninth round knockdown to beat Oscar Rivas in a unanimous points decision and claim the WBC interim heavyweight title on Saturday.

It was Whyte's tenth successive victory, following his only loss to Anthony Joshua in 2016, and the Briton now becomes the mandatory challenger for Deontay Wilder's WBC heavyweight belt.

The 31-year-old dominated the early rounds but his victory looked far from certain following a dramatic ninth round when his Columbian opponent landed an uppercut to send Whyte to the canvas.

Whyte recovered and safely navigated the final three rounds to secure the win with the judges scoring the bout 115-112, 115-112, and 116-111 in the Briton's favor.

It was the first defeat in the 32-year-old Rivas' career.

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Updated July 20, 2019

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