More time has been placed on the clock for Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte to reach a deal.
Whether that results in a head-on collision or the pair of British heavyweights going their separate ways remains to be seen.
Efforts to move forward with the WBC heavyweight title consolidation fight have resulted in yet another postponement, as BoxingScene.com has confirmed that a purse bid hearing scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed. The title fight more than three months in the making is now assigned a fifth purse bid date, with Wednesday’s session reportedly rescheduled for Friday, January 28.
“The World Boxing Council has received once again requests from the teams of Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte, to extend the period of free negotiations,” Mauricio Sulaiman, longtime WBC president stated Wednesday morning. “The WBC has granted this final extension and If there is no agreement, a purse bid will be held this coming Friday, January 28.”
At present moment, Fury stands to earn the favorable end of an 80/20 purse split as previously granted by the WBC. Whyte has appealed the ruling, with the matter not yet resolved while several other elements have come into play.
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, Fury (31-0-1, 22KOs)—the reigning WBC/lineal heavyweight champion—is actively seeking an undisputed championship showdown with unified WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO titlist Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13KOs).
Such a fight would require the cooperation of their next due opponents along with the sanctioning bodies. Ukraine’s Usyk is still awaiting a fight date for his contractually-rematch with former two-time unified titlist Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22KOs), whom Usyk outpointed last September at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London. The rematch is being targeted for the springtime, although Joshua is also presently mulling an undisclosed—and misreported—step aside fee which would allow Fury-Usyk to move forward.
On the other side of the equation—and as first revealed by ESPN.com boxing insider Mike Coppinger—a less lucrative though still substantial offer has been extended to Whyte. The WBC would also have to approve such a scenario, given that Fury-Whyte was already ordered after Fury failed to meet the previous deadline to show proof of a secured fight with Usyk. The WBC granted a 30-day period from the time of Fury’s repeat knockout win over former titlist Deontay Wilder (42-2-1, 41KOs) last October to reach an agreement with Usyk, though compromised by Joshua exercising a rematch clause in hopes of avenging his loss to the unbeaten Ukrainian southpaw.
Manchester’s Fury (31-0-1, 22KOs) is the reigning WBC champion, having claimed the belt in a seventh-round knockout of Deontay Wilder in their February 2020 rematch in Las Vegas. The feat also reestablished heavyweight championship lineage, previously held by Fury in his November 2015 win over Wladimir Klitschko before severing ties with the sport due to a backdated drug testing suspension and lengthy battle to combat drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues.
Whyte (28-2, 19KOs) is a two-time and reigning WBC interim title. The Brixton-based heavyweight first claimed the belt in a July 2019 unanimous decision win over then-unbeaten Oscar Rivas in London. His first attempted defense resulted in a stunning knockout loss to Alexander Povetkin in August 2020, since avenged in a fourth-round knockout victory last March 27 in Gibraltar.
Fury is represented by Top Rank, Queensberry Promotions and MTK Global in talks, while Whyte—whose immediate team has taken the lead in negotiations—fights under the Matchroom Boxing banner. The previous delay came as the result of the WBC attempting to resolve an appeal filed by Whyte, who has objected to the 80/20 purse split applied to the fight in the event it a purse bid hearing settles promotional rights.
The WBC determined the split based on a request filed by Top Rank during the sanctioning body’s 59th annual 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. It was approved in late December, with the WBC citing the massive purse disparity between Fury and Whyte in their most recent fights.
Whyte seeks a more favorable split, though so far proving to be an uphill battle. Current WBC by-laws do not designate a set distribution, nor is he granted any additional benefits despite his status as an interim titlist.
Meanwhile, Fury and Whyte have been in talks for more than two months in hopes to resolve the matter, as Fury’s team 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.
Fury is 6-0-1 (4KOs) since returning to the ring, including a memorable trilogy with 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 twice drop Wilder en route to a seventh-round stoppage in front of a sold-out crowd at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Fury became just the second heavyweight in history to own all four major alphabet titles with the win—coming nearly 25 years after Riddick Bowe first accomplished the feat during two separate heavyweight title wins in 1992 and 1995.
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 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 contenders Robert Helenius, Derek Chisora (twice) and Mariusz Wach as well as former titlist Joseph Parker.
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. An undisputed championship showdown with Usyk is rumored to land in the Middle East, with the investors providing enough funding to satisfy all current parties involved in the otherwise established heavyweight title fights.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox