Hearn expects WBC to decide Dillian Whyte’s case by next week
By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn says he expects the WBC to make a decision this week on whether #1 WBC Dillian Whyte is made the mandatory for the winner of the May 18th fight between World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and Dominic Breazeale.
Whyte will be fighting on July 13 on Sky Box Office pay-per-view against an opponent still to be determined. Hearn wants to wait until the WBC makes their announcement on Whyte’s situation before he signs an opponent for him to fight on the 13th of July.
Hearn openly admits that he won’t be putting Whyte in with a dangerous guy on July 13th if the WBC orders him to fight the winner of the Wilder vs. Breazeale fight. Hearn still says it won’t be a soft opponent, but once you take away Ortiz, there’s not much to pick from. The fans don’t want to see Dereck Chisora trotted out again as Whyte’s opponent, and Joseph Parker is another waste of time. Carlos Takam is already in use as Oleksandr Usyk’s next opponent, so Hearn can’t use him as Whyte’s July 13 opponent.
Hearn just signed two-time Olympian Zhilei Zhang to his stable on Wednesday, so he might be a possibility for Whyte. That’s not a good pay-per-view fight though. Zhang is about to turn 36, and he’s slow as molasses, and not looking very impressive as a pro. Zhang almost beat Anthony Joshua in the 2012 Olympics, but that was seven years ago when the Chinese fighter was 28, and fighting at high level. Hearn also signed 2012 U.S Olympian Michael Hunter on Wednesday. The news for the signing of Hunter was announced earlier today. Hunter isn’t a great opponent either, although he would have a very good chance of beating Whyte, as long as the referee isn’t blowing calls on head-butt knockdowns, like we saw in the Whyte vs. Joseph Parker fight, and failing to call obvious fouls.
With that being said, Hearn maintains that he’s not looking to fight a “tick-over” opponent for Whyte to fight on July 13, since the fight will be shown on Sky Box Office, but he says he’s not going to sign someone like Luis Ortiz if the WBC is going to order the Wilder-Breazeale winner to fight Whyte without an interim fight. In other words, Hearn won’t want to put Whyte in a risky fight he could very well lose against the talented Cuban.
“A lot hinges on the WBC’s decision. That’s a pivotal moment for his career, what the WBC rules in terms of his mandatory position for him fighting the winner of Wilder and Breazeale,” Hearn said about Dillian Whyte to IFL TV. “We’ll hear from them hopefully this week, but the plan remains the same, box in July, and he’s ready for a serious fight,” Hearn said.
What will be interesting to see is what Whyte does if the WBC says, ‘We want you to fight Luis Ortiz in a WBC eliminator. The winner becomes the new mandatory.’ Does Whyte go in the opposite direction or does he take the fight and potentially get knocked out? It would be a tough choice for Whyte, because he doesn’t need the Wilder fight for him to get a nice payday title shot. He obviously will take a fight with Wilder if it’s given to him on a silver platter by the WBC, but likely not if he has to actually work for it by fighting a talent like Ortiz.
If Whyte were to have to earn the mandatory spot by fighting Ortiz, he could lose, and then that would mess up his chances of not only fighting Wilder but also Joshua. Whyte is ranked #1 with the World Boxing Organization, but he’s about to lose that spot to Oleksandr Usyk, who is moving up to heavyweight to go after a fight against Joshua. Whyte had a chance to fight Joshua recently, but he rejected the offer, so here is hoping the WBC makes him Wilder’s mandatory challenger without him having to fight in an official eliminator.
“They’re being considered,” Hearn said when asked if Whyte could potentially fight Luis “King Kong” Ortiz or Alexander Povetkin next on July 13. “There are some others as well. I’ve always liked the Povetkin fight. We’re just kind of waiting on the WBC to see what they order. If he [Whyte] becomes mandatory for the Wilder-Breazeale winner with no intermediate fights for the winner, then you’re not really going to fight Ortiz, for example,” Hearn said.
Hearn feels that Whyte should be made the mandatory for Wilder, because he’s been ranked #1 with the WBC for two years without being ordered to fight for the title. However, Breazeale has been the WBC mandatory for that length of time since he beat Eric Molina in 2017.
The WBC has been slow in ordering Wilder to defend against Breazeale. The WBC wasn’t going to replace Breazeale with Whyte just because of their failure to order the fight. When it looked like Wilder was going to fight Tyson Fury in a rematch, the WBC was going to have Breazeale, the mandatory, fight Whyte for the interim WBC heavyweight title.
Breazeale would have been stuck fighting in what was clearly a second eliminator. The WBC wasn’t going to call it that, but that’s what it would have been. If Breazeale would have lost to Whyte, he would no longer be the WBC mandatory for Wilder. Once Tyson Fury signed with Top Rank, and they decided that they didn’t like the idea of an immediate rematch taking place between Wilder and Fury, then the fight was off the table, and there was no longer any need for Breazeale to fight Whyte for the interim WBC title.
Hearn wants the WBC to come up with a resolution due to Whyte not being able to take part in the fight against Breazeale for the interim WBC title. As such, the WBC will either make Whyte the new mandatory without having to fight in an eliminator or they’ll likely order him to fight Ortiz, and say that the winner of that fight is the new mandatory. It goes without saying that Whyte will go in another direction, and say, ‘forget it.’ Ortiz is too dangerous, and he could not only mess up Whyte’s chances of a fight with Wilder, but also for a rematch with Joshua. It’s been four years since Whyte last fought Joshua, and if he gets beaten by Ortiz, it could be another four years before he’s given another chance.
The WBC might not want to help Whyte out by making him the mandatory for the Wilder-Breazeale winner, because he’s not participated in an official eliminator. When the WBC tried to get Whyte to face Ortiz in an eliminator, he went the other way and fought Joseph Parker and Dereck Chisora.
While some boxing fans might feel that Parker and possibly even Chisora are better fighters than the 40-year-old southpaw Ortiz, the fact of the matter is Whyte didn’t take the WBC eliminator the sanctioning body wanted him to take to become Wilder’s mandatory challenger by facing Ortiz. Th fighter that did particulate in a WBC eliminator, Breazeale, is Wilder’s mandatory challenger and will be facing him on May 18.
So if the WBC rules that Whyte is now Wilder’s new mandatory challenger, they could force him to defend against him next if he doesn’t choose to face IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua in a unification. You can imagine if Wilder is in a hurry to make a fight with Joshua after the WBC orders him to face Whyte, Hearn would likely take advantage of the situation by sticking with the 60-40 split that he’s been offering Wilder.
Wilder wouldn’t be in a good position to negotiate with Hearn for the Joshua fight if the WBC orders him to defend against Whyte in immediate title fight. It’s a bad deal for Wilder, because he gets stuck fighting back to back mandatory title defenses. Wilder would be facing a guy that didn’t take part in an eliminator. It’s all well and good that Whyte beat Parker, Lucas Browne, Dereck Chisora and Robert Helenius, but those weren’t eliminator fights.
“It’s a serious fight on July 13th, but we want to see what the WBC’s decision is before we sign a contract for another fight, and get it all announced,” Hearn said. “Yes, it’s going to be a pay-per-view fight,” Hearn said about Whyte’s next fight on July 13 being shown on Sky Box Office PPV. “It’s not going to be a tick-over. It’s going to be a pay-per-view fight. Again, we’ll review that [Whyte’s next opponent] once the WBC makes their ruling,” Hearn said.
The British boxing fans aren’t going to be happy having to pay to see Whyte fight on Sky Box Office if it’s not against Luis Ortiz on July 13. The fans don’t see anymore retread fights between Whyte and Chisora, and they don’t want to watch Whyte beat up on lesser 2nd tier heavyweights like Malcolm Tann, Robert Helenius, Dave Allen and Lucas Browne. Hopefully, Hearn puts a live body in there with Whyte so that the fans get their money’s worth.