LAS VEGAS – Bob Arum understood the WBC’s decision at its annual convention earlier this week to refrain from making Dillian Whyte the mandatory challenger for Tyson Fury’s heavyweight championship due to the active lawsuit Whyte filed against the WBC regarding his mandatory status in June 2020.

That decision still won’t prevent Arum and Fury’s other co-promoter, Frank Warren, from trying to make what would be a voluntary defense of Fury’s title against Whyte. Arum informed that he and Warren will speak with Whyte’s representatives soon about putting together a Fury-Whyte fight at some point in March at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

“Frank and I are looking for the best possible opponent,” Arum told “Obviously, number one, we would like Usyk if Joshua steps aside. Number two, if that’s not possible, then Whyte probably is as attractive an opponent for Tyson as anybody else out there. So again, we’re gonna sit down with [Whyte’s] people and see if we can work out a deal.

“It’s a huge fight in England, and Tyson has indicated that he wants his next fight to be in the UK. So, now there’s two guys that come to mind – one is Whyte, the other is [Joe] Joyce. We’re gonna see. And, of course, it all depends on who Fury wants to fight. Ultimately, he’ll decide.”

England’s Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) hasn’t given any indication that he’ll step aside to allow Usyk to face Fury next in what would be a full title unification fight.

Joshua exercised his immediate rematch clause after Ukraine’s Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) upset him by unanimous decision September 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. The former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champ expects to box Usyk next, perhaps as soon as April.

Regardless, Fury has told Arum and Warren that he wants his first appearance of 2022 to occur in the United Kingdom. The Manchester, England, native’s past five fights have taken place in the United States.

A fight with Joyce also would sell well in the UK. London’s Joyce (13-0, 12 KOs), a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, is promoted by Warren, which would make that fight relatively easy to put together.

If Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) moves forward with Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs), it would likely be a voluntary defense of his WBC belt.

“You can’t sue an organization and then say, ‘Well, make us mandatory,’ ” Arum said. “Again, [the WBC is] quite right – until this is decided in arbitration, he doesn’t deserve to be the mandatory. I think they made a very, very appropriate decision. Now, that doesn’t mean that Tyson won’t end up fighting Dillian Whyte. But it won’t be done on a mandatory basis.”

London’s Whyte was supposed to fight Swedish southpaw Otto Wallin (22-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC) on October 30 in a 12-round fight DAZN was set to stream from O2 Arena in London. The Jamaican-born Whyte, who owns the WBC interim title, withdrew from his fight with Wallin less than two weeks in advance due to a shoulder injury.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.