By Tim Royner: Dillian Whyte is in a good position to fight for the WBC heavyweight title by February 21 of next year against champion Tyson Fury, according to his promoter Eddie Hearn. He seems no for a delay of Whyte’s long-awaited title shot.
Hearn is confident that Fury will make take care of his rematch with former WBC champion Deontay Wilder later this year, and he’ll be ready to face Whyte next February.
With that said, Hearn has no control over what’s taking place with the worldwide health problems. Whyte may need to wait longer for his title shot. Whyte has waited this long. Another six 12 months further delay shouldn’t be a big deal for him, right?
Whyte isn’t the only one who’s career is being disrupted by what’s going on. Every fighter is now sitting on the sidelines, waiting and hoping that they’ll be able to fight soon.
Hearn sees no reason for Whyte’s title shot to be delayed
“I don’t know. I had a question yesterday about how mandatory’s are effected in situations like this,” said Hearn to Sky Sports Boxing. “Everything is a case by case situation. You’ve got purse bids that have been called that have been delayed. Those fights will be delayed.
“Dillian Whyte’s mandatory is on February 21. I see no reason why that should be delayed, to be honest with you because Fury is still likely to fight this year. So I don’t see any issue with you. But yes, there will be disruption across the board.
I think all sports are going to be at a disadvantage compared to where they were before,” said Hearn. “We’ve gained so much momentum in the last eight to ten years in the sport of boxing. We’re going to lose some of that momentum. When we come back, we need to make sure that we come back with a bang,” said Hearn.
Whyte’s title shot could get delayed even if boxing restarts in the summer, and knows that. As soon as Fury faces Wilder – and beats him – Hearn will immediately start working on setting up a unification contest between IBF/WBA/WBO champion Joshua and Fury.
As you can imagine, the World Boxing Council won’t get in the way of that fight. They’ll let the Joshua vs. Fury fight take place, be it in the first quarter of 2021 or later. That match-up means a lot more to the sport than Whyte’s title defense.
Whyte needs to brace himself for the likely reality that he won’t be getting his title shot next February. The good news is, Whyte will eventually fight for the WBC title one of these days.
Fighters won’t want a warm-up
“Fighters are going to say, ‘Forget that warm-up fight. Stick me straight in.’ We’re probably going to have more shows, more action, and even more in-depth cards,” said Hearn. We need to come back with a bang.
“We need to remind people how great this sport is, and during this period, we’re trying to keep this content happening to make sure that fight fans keep talking about our game, and they don’t lose interest.
“When we come back, we’ve got to come back with a bang. There are exciting plans. I always like to take a positive out of a negative situation. That’s what we’re trying to do,” said Hearn.
“We’re going to have a conveyor belt of fighters desperate to get out as soon as possible, and we’re going to have a backlog of shows. One thing I can tell you is that when we start back up, the fans are going to be in for a treat because we’re going to try and make the biggest fights possible,” said Hearn.
Saunders’ video was stupid – Eddie Hearn
“It’s disappointing because everyone that knows Billy Joe Saunders knows he’s a good man, has got a good heart, and helps people,” said Hearn on Saunders’ disturbing video. “Ironically, he’s helped a lot of people in the situation that he’s been condemned for,” said Hearn.
“More importantly, the weekend that he released that video, he was out dropping supplies off at the NHS and doing his rounds. It’s frustrating because you’ve got to be smarter than that. You’ve got to understand your role in sport and society. Unfortunately, you have a role to play in society to try and educate and motivate and be a role model to people.
“The video was stupid. There was no malice. He wasn’t trying to incentivize anyone to do anything. It was just something that he shouldn’t have done. So I’m hoping that’s something we can take on board, and we rap him on his knuckles and say, ‘You’re an idiot. What are you doing? Have a brain.
“This is the problem at the moment. The fighters are stuck at home, and the sport saved a lot of fighters by giving them that regimental lifestyle and that discipline to focus on. Right now, they haven’t got it, so I want them to get back into the gym as soon as possible. We want to get the shows up as soon as possible,” said Hearn.
All the compliments in the world that Hearn gives Billy Joe Saunders won’t change anything if the World Boxing Organization decides to strip him of his WBO super middleweight title. That still won’t stop Canelo Alvarez from fighting Saunders because that’s a fight he wants.
The WBO title that Saunders has is arguably cover for Canelo to have something to shield him from criticism from fans for taking another soft fight.
Will fans see Khan vs. Brook soon?
“Maybe, I just think coming off the back of this, we’re going to try and be as aggressive as we can, and shock as many fans as we can,” said Hearn when asked if a fight between Amir Khan and Kell Brook can be made.
“We’d like fight cards that reignite the love and passion for the sport, and that’s certainly one that would do that. That [Khan vs. Brook] would be a great event to come back to in the back end of this year. So I haven’t completely given up hope,” said Hearn.
Amir Khan says he’s got a couple of fights left in him before he retires from boxing. He wants Manny Pacquiao, but that’s not looking like it’ll happen. Khan will have to take the Brook fight if Pacquiao isn’t agreeable to fight him.
Brook is the biggest payday available to Khan other than Pacquiao. It would also be a great bout to get fans excited about the sport.
It’ll be interesting if Khan pulls off the upset and beats Brook. What a way for him to end his career. It would be a massive win for Khan, and it would get a lot of boxing fans excited.