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Hearn: Deontay Wilder as Franchise champion would be problem for Whyte

Deontay Wilder

By Tim Royner: Eddie Hearn is deeply worried that the WBC will make Deontay Wilder their new ‘Franchise heavyweight champion.’ The WBC hasn’t said anything about them potentially making Wilder their new Franchise heavyweight champion, but Hearn is still worried nonetheless.

That’s a move that would prevent Matchroom Dillian Whyte from fighting Wilder for WBC title, and receiving all the praise from fans if he were to dethrone the highly popular ‘Bronze Bomber’ in America.  Hearn needs Whyte to be seen beating Wilder in order to validate him as a great fighter in the eyes of casual boxing fans.

As of now, fans know Whyte from his loss to Anthony Joshua, and his wins over older heavyweights Dereck Chisora, Robert Helenious and Lucas Browne.  Whyte hasn’t beaten an elite heavyweight yet during his career,  and he opted not to fight in a WBC eliminator last year against Luis Ortiz. Whyte chose to fight 35-year-old Chisora in a rematch rather than facing Ortiz in a WBC title eliminator.

Deontay being appointed Franchise heavyweight title would leave Whyte without the possibility of fighting him for the WBC title. Whyte is battling Oscar Rivas  for the interim WBC and mandatory position on July 20 at the O2 Arena in London, England. If Whyte beats Rivas, the WBC would could potentially crown him their new WBC heavyweight champion. All this without Whyte fighting Wilder. Whyte winning the WBC title against Rivas wouldn’t be the same as beating Wilder to capture the belt. The casual fans in the States and the UK have no idea who Oscar Rivas is, and they probably won’t take notice of Whyte beating him.

Hearn: Wilder being made Franchise champion is a problem for Whyte

“That’s a problem [if WBC makes Deontay Wilder new Franchise champion], because Dillian Whyte, if he beats Rivas on July 20 at the O2, will be WBC interim world champion and will be the mandatory for Deontay Wilder,” said Hearn to IFL TV. “What we don’t want is Wilder having the opportunity to move to Franchise [heavyweight] champion, and Dillian Whyte getting a shot at what would be the WBC regular title. We’ll see what happens over the next week,” said Hearn. 

As one can see, it’s not just about Hearn wanting Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs) to get his hands on the WBC heavyweight title. It’s more about Hearn wanting Whyte  to defeat the unbeaten Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) for the WBC title, since that would validate the British heavyweight in the eyes of the U.S boxing fans, and it would increase his popularity overnight. Moreover, it would help Whyte get a bigger percentage split in fights against the likes of Anthony Joshua and IBF/WBA/WBO champion Andy Ruiz Jr. If Whyte wins the vacant WBC heavyweight title by beating Oscar Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs) next month on July 20, then his popularity won’t increase to any great extent. The little known Rivas is a 10-year from Cuba, who has done very little with his career since turning pro in 2009. Rivas struggled badly in his last fight against Bryant Jennings before stopping him in the 12th round last January.

Whyte needs to beat Wilder for WBC title to be taken seriously as a champion

The WBC would frustrate Whyte’s big plans if they chose to appoint Deontay Wilder their new WBC Franchise heavyweight champion. Whyte absolutely NEEDS to beat Wilder for him to be made into a big name overnight in the United States and worldwide. But in looking at it from the WBC’s perspective, it makes perfect sense for them to make Wilder their Franchise champion.  After all, Wilder has a done as the WBC’s heavyweight champion since capturing the belt in 2015. Wilder has been a loyal, and popular heavyweight champion. In Whyte’s case, Hearn has been complaining long and hard about how he’s been ranked #1 by the WBC for over 600 days.

Hearn should be happy if Whyte wins WBC title against Rivas

With all the complaining that Hearn has done about wanting Whyte to get his title shot, he should be pleased if the WBC makes him their new heavyweight champion if he beats Rivas. Unfortunately, Hearn won’t be happy. It’s not about the WBC belt. Hearn wants Whyte to fight Wilder, because it’ll give him a shot to increase his popularity, but also the fight will bring in a lot of money in the UK.

Hearn has gotten the boxing fans involved by taking his complaints about Whyte to the public. He feels that Whyte should have been made mandatory for beating the likes of Lucas Browne, Dereck Chisora and Joseph Parker. Never mind the fact that Whyte turned down the WBC heavyweight title eliminator against Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz last year when the sanctioning body ordered that fight. Hearn believes that Whyte should have been made the mandatory for the fights that he personally picked for him. It sounds a little crazy though for a promoter to decide who he wants his fighter to face in an official eliminator instead of the sanctioning body, but this is boxing.

Rivas is a short 6’0″ heavyweight that has never beaten anyone of note during his career. Hearn found him among the top 15 rankings, and decided to match Whyte against him on Sky Box Office. Initially, it was supposed to be a tune-up fight for Whyte, but Hearn has changed that up by insisting that the World Boxing Council make the Whyte-Rivas fight an official eliminator. Rivas is ranked low with the WBC at #10, so he’s not a great option to be fighting in an eliminator, but that’s besides the point.

Earlier this week the World Boxing Council appointed WBC middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez their new WBC Franchise 160 pound champion.

With the new WBC Franchise middleweight title, Canelo no longer has to worry about defending his WBC middleweight title against his mandatory challenger Jermall Charlo, since the title was stripped from him by the WBC. Canelo can now fight whoever he wants without worrying needing to defend against his mandatory challenger Charlo.  As one would expect, Charlo is NOT happy with Canelo being put out of range for him to force a fight against him.

WBC needs to be let fighters know about eliminator requirements

Moving forward, the WBC should make it clear to contenders and their promoters that they need to take part in official eliminators if they want to become a mandatory challenger. Secondly, the promoters need to know they can’t be the one hand-picking the the fighters they want their guys to face in eliminators. That should be the WBC’s job. Hearn should have insisted last year that Whyte face Ortiz when the WBC ordered they to face each other in a secondary title eliminator.


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