The WBC issued an order Tuesday for the open negotiating period to begin for its heavyweight title bout between Tyson Fury and mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte.
BoxingScene.com has learned that the WBC informed Fury’s co-promoters, Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. and Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions, and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, Whyte’s longtime promotional representative. Open negotiating periods typically last 30 days, but handlers for Fury and Whyte could be granted additional time due to the upcoming break during the holiday season.
The WBC did not mention the purse split for the Fury-Whyte fight in its correspondence with the three aforementioned promoters. Champions and challengers usually share a 70-30 split for WBC title bouts, but Carl Moretti, Top Rank’s vice president of boxing operations, proposed an 80-20 split in Fury’s favor at the WBC’s annual convention last month in Mexico City.
If representatives for Fury and Whyte don’t willingly come to an agreement, the WBC would order a purse bid, which would allow any promoter to make an offer for the right to promote Fury-Whyte. Assuming they can come to terms, BoxingScene.com has been informed that Top Rank and Queensberry Promotions want to stage the Fury-Whyte fight sometime in March either at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, or AO Arena in Fury’s hometown of Manchester, England.
Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) hasn’t fought in the United Kingdom since August 2018, when he defeated Italy’s Francesco Pianeta by unanimous decision in a 10-round fight at Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The 33-year-old Fury’s past five fights have taken place in the United States, either in Las Vegas or Los Angeles.
The 33-year-old Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) regained his WBC interim title in his last fight, when he stopped Alexander Povetkin (36-3-1, 25 KOs) in the fourth round of their immediate rematch March 27 at Europa Point Sports Complex in Gibraltar. Russia’s Povetkin upset Whyte when he knocked the Jamaican-born contender unconscious in the fifth round of their first fight, which took place in August 2020 at Matchroom Boxing’s headquarters in Brentwood, England.
Two months before Povetkin defeated him, Whyte filed a lawsuit against the WBC because he had not received a title shot Whyte believed was long overdue. Mauricio Sulaiman, the WBC’s president, publicly disputed the length of time Whyte was actually that sanctioning organization’s mandatory challenger before Whyte sued the WBC.
London’s Whyte was supposed to oppose Otto Wallin (22-1-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC) on October 30 at O2 Arena in London. Whyte withdrew from his 12-round fight with the Swedish southpaw due to a shoulder injury approximately 11 days in advance.
Fury, meanwhile, emphatically ended his trilogy with Deontay Wilder in their third fight October 9 in Las Vegas.
The 6-feet-9, 277-pound Fury survived two fourth-round knockdowns and violently knocked out Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) during the 11th round of their pay-per-view main event at T-Mobile Arena. Fury floored Wilder once apiece in the third, 10th and 11th rounds of their third fight, a contractually mandated match that finally took place 19 months after Fury stopped Wilder in the seventh round of their rematch in February 2020 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.