Dillian Whyte has claimed another small victory in the ongoing battle over proper treatment ahead of his first major title shot.
BoxingScene.com has learned that a second purse bid delay has come ahead of Whyte’s challenge of WBC/lineal champion Tyson Fury. The matter was due to head to purse bid on Tuesday—following a one-week postponement—but was once again pushed back to at least Friday, January 21.
The second delay comes as the WBC continues to sort out several moving parts, including an official appeal from Whyte regarding the assigned purse split. A ruling by the WBC on December 30 called for Fury (31-0-1, 22KOs) to receive the favorable end of an 80/20 split should the all British-heavyweight battle head to a purse bid hearing.
The decision did not sit well with Whyte (28-2, 19KOs), who seeks closer to 45% of the final amount as is normally the expected split for a WBC interim titlist. Whyte has twice held the WBC interim title while waiting out his shot at the main belt, regaining the secondary title in a fourth-round knockout of Alexander Povetkin in their rematch last March 27 in Gibraltar.
The decision to grant a wider split in favor of Fury came more than six weeks after the unbeaten heavyweight’s co-promoter, Top Rank made a formal request during the 59th annual WBC convention last November in Mexico City. The matter was tabled at the time, due to Whyte’s ongoing lawsuit with the Mexico City-based sanctioning body which also caused a delay in the official ordering of the heavyweight championship fight.
Fury and Whyte have since entered talks in hopes to resolve the matter, as Fury’s team—Top Rank and Queensberry Promotions—hope to get their unbeaten heavyweight back in the ring March 26 either in the United Kingdom or Las Vegas. Talks have not advanced very far, with Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum alleging that Whyte’s purse demands have prompted Fury’s side to look elsewhere for his next fight.
Should Fury next fight in the U.K., it will be his first since the early stages of his comeback in 2018. Fury’s last fight in his home region came in August 2018, scoring a ten-round decision over Francesco Pianeta in an August 2018 non-title fight in Belfast. The bout came two months after scoring a fourth-round knockout of Sefer Seferi in a triumphant June 2018 ring return in his hometown of Manchester, England.
The win over Seferi was the first in more than 30 months for Fury, having sat out a backdated two-year drug testing suspension along with battling alcohol and drug abuse and mental health issues which resulted in his relinquishing the heavyweight crown following his November 2015 win over then-lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Fury is 6-0-1 (4KOs) since returning to the ring, including a memorable trilogy with Deontay Wilder (42-2-1, 41KOs).
All three fights came with the WBC heavyweight title at stake, with Wilder defending the belt in a widely disputed twelve-round, split decision draw with Fury in December 2018. Fury twice climbed off the canvas, including a dramatic knockdown in the 12th and final round.
Their February 2020 rematch saw Fury win on lopsided fashion, twice dropping Wilder en route to a seventh-round stoppage in front of a sold-out crowd at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Fury re-established heavyweight championship lineage with the win, along with claiming the WBC belt in becoming just the second heavyweight in history to own all four major alphabet titles—coming nearly 25 years after Riddick Bowe first accomplished the feat during two separate heavyweight title reigns.
Fury’s lone defense came in his epic trilogy bout with Wilder, surviving two knockdowns to score three of his own in an eleventh-round stoppage last October 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Their memorable affair was recognized by BoxingScene.com and several other outlets as the 2021 Fight of the Year and among the greatest fights in heavyweight championship history.
Meanwhile, Whyte has patiently waited for his first crack at a major belt.
The 34-year-old heavyweight from Brixton, England has long served as a top contender but has fallen victim to the politics of the sport. Whyte served as the number-one contender with the WBC since the summer of 2017, though never officially named the mandatory challenger as he watched numerous other heavyweights jump the line.
Whyte raised hell over the issue, though marched forward with his career. An eleven-fight win streak followed his lone career defeat at the time, a December 2015 seventh-round stoppage to Anthony Joshua who went on to dethrone Charles Martin for the first of two separate title reigns. Among the scalps claimed by Whyte were three unbeaten heavyweights at the time—David Allen, Lucas Browne and Oscar Rivas—along with veteran fringe contenders Robert Helenius, Derek Chisora (twice) and Mariusz Wach as well as former titlist Joseph Parker.
The win over Rivas came with the WBC interim title, though still not enough to secure a long-sought title shot for Whyte. His win streak came to a crashing halt in Whyte’s first fight following the pandemic, as Alexander Povetkin recovered from a fourth-round knockdown to flatten Whyte in the fifth round of their August 2020 interim title fight.
Whyte’s aforementioned knockout win over Povetkin in their rematch last March represents his last ring appearance. Plans for a stay busy fight versus Otto Wallin last October fell through when Whyte was forced to withdraw due to a shoulder injury, for which he offered medical proof to the WBC to retain his current mandatory position.
The hope remains that Whyte’s next fight will be for the heavyweight championship. Fury’s side has mentioned several alternate opponents, including Helenius and former secondary WBA heavyweight titlist Manuel Charr. Nothing can be decided until at least Friday, whether through a purse bid hearing or the next update in this ongoing saga.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox