Sulaiman: Whyte must get his mandatory title shot, Joshua vs. Fury is “SPECULATION”

By Boxing News - 06/21/2020 - Comments

By Charles Brun: WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman is saying that mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte must get his title shot before Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury fight next year.

Sulaiman says the Joshua-Fury fight is “speculation” at this point. What is known is Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) is the WBC mandatory, and the World Boxing Council champion Fury will need to face him in early 2021.

Sulaiman could force Fury’s hand

With Sulaiman suddenly standing firm on the WBC champion needing to defend against Whyte, it could result in Fury being made the Franchise champion. For that to happen, Fury and his promoters at Top Rank will need to decide if they want to go in that direction.

It might not be worth making that move if the WBO forces Joshua to defend against their mandatory Oleksandr Usyk before facing Fury next year.

If Joshua is stuck having to fight Usyk in the first half of 2021, then Fury might as well face Whyte because he’ll just be sitting around waiting for Joshua.

Image: Sulaiman: Whyte must get his mandatory title shot, Joshua vs. Fury is "SPECULATION"

Suliaman says Whyte must get his title shot

Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) still needs to defend his WBC heavyweight title against Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) later this year before he can face Whyte in early next year. The winner will face Whyte.

If Wilder beats Fury in their trilogy match this year, it’s unknown what his plans will be.

Wilder could do several things:

  • Vacate the WBC title and look to fight Fury in a fourth fight, which makes him a lot of money
  • Defend against Whyte
  • Ask the WBC to make him their Franchise champion.
  • Offer Whyte a step aside fee.

Joshua has his obligations to fulfill in defending his IBF title against mandatory Kubrat Pulev later this year. Neither Joshua nor Fury has a set a date for their necessary defenses this year.

Sulaiman: Whyte can enforce his title shot

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said he would still be interested in staging the Joshua-Fury fight even if one of them lose before they’re supposed to meet next year. However, that would look strange if Joshua or Fury were to fight with one of them coming off of a loss.

“For the WBC there is a mandatory title defense that the champion has to make,” Sulaiman said to the Boxing Insider Radio. “The mandatory challenger is the interim champion, Dillian Whyte.

“He [Whyte] has the right to enforce his title shot after the Wilder vs Fury third fight. Fury vs. Joshua is just speculation.

“They [Joshua and Fury] have both come out and said that they have a deal which is very good. But there are many things that must take place before it actually happens,” said Sulaiman.

Image: Sulaiman: Whyte must get his mandatory title shot, Joshua vs. Fury is "SPECULATION"

Whyte has been complaining about waiting for his title shot for a long time. He not only counts his time as the official WBC mandatory, which is 11 months, but he also factors in his time as the #1 contender. That’s a different thing altogether, but he seems to think it’s the same thing as being mandatory. It’s not.

Dillian may not get his title shot

Whyte was told he would fight for the WBC title by February of 2021, and his promoter Hearn is sticking to that timeline. But with Fury facing Wilder possibly in December, the date for Whyte’s mandated title shot is going to need to be pushed back. It won’t be surprising if Whyte has to wait until June of next year to fight for the WBC belt.

There’s still a good chance that Whyte will be elevated to WBC champion at the same time Fury is made Franchise champion. Whyte will finally get his wish of being WBC heavyweight champion, but he’ll likely be just as frustrated and bitter as he is now as the interim champion.

The WBC belt is of less importance for Whyte than him fighting Fury for it, getting that big payday, and then hopefully beating him. If Whyte beats Fury, then he can be the one facing IBF/WBA/WBO champion Joshua in a unification match at some point.

It sounds like a pipe dream for Whyte to face Fury next year and beat him to get to Joshua. Fury doesn’t like being dedicated to by the sanctioning bodies and likely react with anger if the WBC tells him that he must face Whyte before fighting Joshua. As such, there’s a good chance that Fury will be made Franchise champion.

Also, you can’t rule out the possibility of Fury vacating the WBC title instead of fighting Whyte. It’s not that Fury is afraid of Whyte. That’s not it. As I said, Fury doesn’t like being led around by the nose by governing bodies and told who he can or can’t fight.

Image: Sulaiman: Whyte must get his mandatory title shot, Joshua vs. Fury is "SPECULATION"

Whyte doesn’t want to be made WBC champ

The worst possible nightmare for Whyte is for him to be elevated to WBC champion, and then still not get a fight against Fury or Joshua. Whyte would then need to defend the WBC title against the top contenders in their rankings, and he could lose the title in his first defense if he’s ordered to defend against Luis Ortiz.

That’s a guy that Whyte chose not to fight when the WBC ordered the two to face each other in a title eliminator.  Whyte, 32, is a good fighter, but he’s not good enough for him to hold down a world title for any length of time without careful match-making.

As we saw in Whyte’s fights against Dereck Chisora, Mariusz Wach, Oscar Rivas, and Joseph Parker, he wasn’t much better than those guys.

If Whyte has to face someone like Luis Ortiz, Daniel Dubois, or Filip Hrgovic, he might lose. For those reasons, the WBC belt would be a hot potato for Whyte, who may lose the title right away if he has to face one of those guys.

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