WBC officially orders Whyte vs. Breazeale for interim heavyweight title
By Scott Gilfoid: After months of complaining about not getting a shot at becoming the mandatory challenger to WBC heavyweight champion, Dillian Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs) will finally get a chance to fight the current mandatory Dominic Breazeale (20-1, 18 KOs) for the interim WBC title. There’s a purse bid on March 19 if the management for Breazeale and Whyte haven’t reached a deal by that point in time.
Some boxing fans are already treating this news as a sign that Whyte’s promote Eddie Hearn has used his pull to get the WBC to bend to his wishes of forcing Breazeale to face Whyte. It’s unclear whether Breazeale was going to fight Whyte. Hearn and Whyte both wanted the fight with Breazeale, but it’s unclear whether the feelings were mututal. Why would they? Breazeale is already the WBC mandatory and set to fight the winner of the Wilder vs. Fury 2 fight, as long a the WBC ordered the fight. But now Breazeale has to fight in what is arguably another eliminator fight to earn what he already earned in becoming the WBC mandatory challenger two years ago in 2017.
The winner of the Breazeale vs. Whyte fight will be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2 rematch, which is expected to take place on May 18 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“In order to provide activity to the heavyweight division and address the rights of Breazeale as mandatory challenger, the WBC is ordering a fight for the interim championship,” the World Boxing Council said in a news release on Tuesday. “The WBC is hereby ordering Dominique Breazeale to fight WBC Silver champion Dillian Whyte for the WBC Interim Heavyweight championship.”
This is the fight that Whyte and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing both wanted.
After his negotiations with IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua fizzled, Whyte has made it crystal clear that the fight that he wanted next was the 33-year-old Breazeale so that he could then face the winner of the Wilder vs. Fury rematch. Whyte, 30, can potentially make a lot of money by facing the Wilder-Fury II winner, and then Joshua after that if he wins that fight. A lot money to be made for Whyte if he can beat the 6’7″ Breazeale, and then the Wilder vs. Fury 2 fight. However, there’s also the chance that Whyte gets beaten by Breazeale, and if not him, the Wilder vs. Fury winner. The winner of that fight might school Whyte and/or knock him out. Whyte has looked very, very beatable in his recent fights against Joseph Parker and Dereck Chisora. He could have lost to both of them under different circumstances with different referees. He was fouling like crazy in both fights, and got away with a head-butt knockdown against Parker that the referee mistakenly ruled as a knockdown.
The World Boxing Council put it to a vote on Tuesday and voted to have Whyte face Breazeale for the interim WBC heavyweight title. The WBC might as well have called it a fight to determine the mandatory challenger to champion Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs), but they’re instead saying the Whyte-Breazeale fight will be for their interim WBC title. Since Breazeale is the WBC mandatory for Wilder right now, it means that Whyte will take his place if he beats him.
Breazeale now needs to jump through another hoop to get title shot
The WBC Board of Governors put it to a vote to have Breazeale and Whyte fight for their interim heavyweight title, and they unanimously approved it to order that fight. For Breazeale, this is a bad deal, because instead of him getting the winner of the Wilder vs. Fury 2 fight, which you can argue he should be getting as the WBC mandatory, he’s now effectively needing to fight in a second eliminator for him to finally get a crack at the World Boxing Council heavyweight title. This is similar to what the WBC is doing with middleweight Jermall Charlo. He’s been the mandatory challenger for the WBC middleweight title since 2017. Instead of the WBC ordering their middleweight champion to face Charlo, they’ve instead had Jermall fight Hugo Centeno Jr. for the interim WBC belt. After Jermall won that fight, the WBC still didn’t order the champion to face him. Now the WBC is saying that Charlo has to fight former WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in another eliminator, and the winner of that fight will be current WBC middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez’s mandatory. GGG doesn’t appear to be interested in taking that fight, so the WBC will need to come up with some other idea for another hoop for Jermall to jump through to earn his title shot – a second time – for the WBC belt. Breazeale’s situation isn’t quite as good as superstar GGG. Breazeale can’t just tell the WBC to get lost, and then go off in another direction. If Breazeale walks away from the Whyte fight, he’s going to be ranked too low to get a quick title shot against Joshua with the other sanctioning bodies. Breazeale isn’t ranked in the top 15 by the IBF, WBA or WBO. As such, Breazeale is trapped, having very little choice but to take the fight with Whyte if he wants to try and get a lucrative fight against the winner of the Wilder vs. Fury rematch.
Breazeale was supposed to be getting a title shot against Wilder right now, but the WBC ordered a rematch between Deontay and Tyson Fury recently so that they could clear up the controversy over their draw two months ago on December 1. Breazeale having to fight in another eliminator after he already earned the mandatory spot in beating Eric Molina in 2017 just seems unfair. Breazeale should be getting a title shot after earning the mandatory spot, but now he’s got tin another eliminator. It’s the WBC’s title obviously, and they can do whatever they want with it, but looks strange how it’s being played out. Whyte had the chance to become the WBC mandatory a long time ago if he’d faced Breazeale like the WBC wanted him to, but instead he went off in another direction to face soft opposition like Robert Helenius. When the WBC wanted Whyte to fight in a second eliminator against Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz, he ignored them and chose to fight Joseph Parker. Now the WBC is giving Whyte a third chance to earn the WBC mandatory spot by ordering the Breazeale fight. This time, Whyte is expected to take the fight, but it might not workout well for him. Unlike the guys that Whyte has been fighting since he was knocked out by Joshua in 2015, Breazeale can actually fight, and there’s a very good chance that he wins this fight and send Dillian back into the rebuilding slot. It won’t be the end of the world for Whyte, because he’s with Hearn, who will stubbornly put him in with Joshua anyway regardless of him having lost to Breazeale. That would be a classic move by Hearn, to ignore one of his fighter’s recent losses, and put them in a big fight anyway, hoping the casual boxing fans won’t mind too much that he’s putting together a fight under less than desirable circumstances.
Here’s what the WBC said on Tuesday in part about them ordering the Wilder-Fury rematch:
“After the sensational fight between Wilder and Fury, the very close, high level fight which was scored a draw and by the popular demand, the WBC accepted to rule a direct rematch.”
If Breazeale has to go to the UK to face Whyte, then he’d be better be ready for a fight that could have a lot of odd things going down. The first thing Breazeale can expect against Whyte is to be roughed up the entire fight. The thing that Breazeale has to hope won’t happen is for a referee to blow calls like the one that worked the Whyte vs. Parker fight, who mistakenly gave Dillian credit for a knockdown from a head-butt. The third thing that Breazeale must hope doesn’t happen is for the referee to give him warnings or point deductions for any of his fouls, while ignoring Whyte’s many fouls. Further, the timing of the referee calling fouls on Breazeale is important. In the Whyte vs. Chisora 2 fight, the referee deducted a point in the 11th round from Dereck for the use of the elbow. Whyte was behind in the fight, and on his way to losing the contest. The referee stepping in to take a point away from the B-side fighter Chisora at that time in the fight looked very odd indeed. Why pick that time to take a point away? Breazeale going over to the UK to fight Whyte in his own backyard is going to put him in a position where he could lose just based on the judging or the officiating by the referee. Breazeale would be the visiting fighter, and unfortunately in boxing, the B-side visitor oftentimes winds up on the receiving end of a controversial decision.