Dillian Whyte aggressively shoved as tempers flare in Jermaine Franklin face-off

Promoter Dmitry Salita has likely been added to Dillian Whyte's list of enemies after pushing the British heavyweight during Thursday's stare-down with Jermaine Franklin.

The two parties had to be pulled apart after Salita's intervention during what was an otherwise calm face-off. Whyte, 34, faces unbeaten American Franklin, 29, at Wembley's OVO Arena on Saturday in his first boxing bout since he was stopped by Tyson Fury in April.

Underdog Franklin is promoted by Ukraine-born Salita, a former welterweight who was knocked out by Amir Khan in 76 seconds back in 2009. The Brooklyn-based matchmaker is now more accustomed to staying out of the limelight but stole attention on Thursday following an intense face-off.

READ MORE: Eddie Hearn shares Anthony Joshua’s future plans with Dillian Whyte possibility

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All seemed perfectly civil between the two fighters until Salita and Whyte got into a tangle, after which 'The Body Snatcher' could be heard telling the promoter to "get the f*** outta here." To his credit, Franklin remained stoic throughout the disruption and stood with his hands at his sides while Eddie Hearn helped form a barrier between the entourages.

Salita spoke to iD Boxing and explained: "Dillian had a very intense look, and I told Dillian, 'He's looking right back at you.' And then Dillian pushed me and I pushed him back. It was what it was." Salita went on to say "it's all good" but suggested Whyte is underestimating his unseasoned opponent.

Undefeated Franklin has finished 14 of his 21 opponents to date and scored a fifth-round stoppage of Rodney Moore in May after two-and-a-half years out of the ring. The Michigan native has spent part of his training camp with Whyte's last opponent, Fury, and recently said he's spotted the weaknesses necessary to score an upset in London.

“I think I have the power to knock him out with more than an uppercut," Franklin told Boxing Social. "If that’s the punch that makes him weak, why not throw it? If I set it up at the right time, I’m going to use it. I’ve seen a few chinks in his armor, but this is a warrior’s sport. Just because the warrior lost one battle doesn’t mean you won’t lose the next. I don’t take him lightly. I’ve just seen a few chinks, and I try to capitalize off them.

Speaking to Metro prior to Saturday's encounter, promoter Hearn suggested the winner between Whyte and Franklin could be next in line to face Anthony Joshua. The Olympic gold medal-winner has been out of action since his second straight defeat to Oleksandr Usyk in August, leaving question marks over what 2023 has in store.

"AJ’s going to come back in late February, or he will wait for a bigger fight," said the Matchroom chief. "If he waits, he’ll go straight into the Dillian Whyte fight. If not, we’ll still do that but in the summer after AJ’s fight in February."


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