Tyson Fury repeatedly prefaces his comments about his future by insisting that he isn’t taking for granted that he’ll beat Deontay Wilder when they fight for the third time.
If Fury indeed defeats Wilder again, the unbeaten heavyweight champion expects the WBC to allow him to face Anthony Joshua in his following fight. Dillian Whyte is the WBC’s interim champion and the mandatory challenger for Fury’s belt, but Fury is almost certain that the WBC would grant him an exception to allow a full unification fight before facing Whyte.
A bout between Fury and Joshua, the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO champion, has been billed as the biggest fight in British boxing history.
The WBC announced before the COVID-19 pandemic began that Whyte would have to get his title shot by February 2021, assuming Whyte were to continue winning. That deadline was established before the sport’s entire schedule changed due to the coronavirus crisis.
England’s Fury and Alabama’s Wilder might not even fight a third time until December, perhaps later. Whyte, meanwhile, is supposed to face Russia’s Alexander Povetkin sometime this summer in a fight that already has been postponed twice.
“To be honest with you, I know Dillian Whyte’s the mandatory,” Fury told IFL TV in an interview posted to its YouTube channel recently. “He’s the WBC mandatory. I inherited him from Deontay Wilder. But at the moment, I’ve got an immediate rematch with Wilder. I know that Dillian’s going on about, ‘Oh, fight me instead.’
“But Wilder ain’t gonna give up 25 million dollars, is he, 30 million quid? I can’t see that happening to let Dillian Whyte go and have his money. So, after that fight, yeah, then I think that there’s a mandatory due. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m almost a hundred percent or 95 percent that all organizations will sanction a unification [fight] before a mandatory [defense]. Don’t quote me.”
According to WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) became the WBC’s mandatory challenger when he beat Colombia’s Oscar Rivas (26-1, 18 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-round elimination match July 20 at O2 Arena in London. England’s Whyte has been the WBC’s number one contender for well over two years, though, and feels his title shot is long overdue.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) and Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) were tentatively scheduled to meet a third time July 18 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the same venue where Fury stopped Wilder in the seventh round of their rematch February 22. Their third bout was pushed back to October 3 and then delayed indefinitely due to COVID-19.
England’s Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) is expected to make a mandated defense of his IBF title against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) before the end of this year. Joshua and Pulev were scheduled to meet June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, but their fight also has been postponed for an indefinite period.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.