By Charles Brun: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says Tyson Fury will decide who his next opponent will be for the title defense of his WBC heavyweight belt in mid-April.
Arum says interim WBC champion Dillian Whyte and #3 WBC contender Joe Joyce are two options for Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) to fight, but he’s leaving it up to him to decide.
Given the brutal fight that Fury was just involved in against Deontay Wilder, it would be wiser for him to take an easy tune-up rather than put himself into another grueling contest.
If the WBC doesn’t let Fury make an optional defense against a fringe contender, he should consider vacating his title.
FURY WILL DECIDE
“Who Fury fights next will be determined by Fury,” said Arum to Sky Sports.
“If the fight is in the UK, I would think Whyte would be a good possibility, as well as Joyce.”
Fury would do well to pick the 6’6″ Joe Joyce as his next opponent, but that might not sit too well with the WBC. They might strip Fury if he doesn’t defend against interim champion Whyte next.
At this point, Fury doesn’t need the silly WBC title to fight the winner of the Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk 2 rematch next year. Fury can go back to calling himself the ‘lineal champion,’ and that would suffice with fans.
Holding onto the WBC belt is useless for Fury, and it’s going to drag him down. Charles Brun would vacate the WBC title if he were in Fury’s shoes. Throw the belt overboard and let Whyte dive in and scrap for it against #1 WBC ranked contender Deontay Wilder or #2 Andy Ruiz Jr.
One problem in Fury selecting Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) is the negative blowback that Dillian has received from the boxing public and media with the way he pulled out of his October 30th fight against Otto Wallin due to a shoulder injury.
Many people believe Whyte faked his injury to play it safe so that he could go straight into a title shot against Fury without the worry of being upset by the big 6’6″ Wallin.
IS WHYTE INJURED?
When the fight with Wallin was first set up, Whyte didn’t have the option of fighting for a world title against WBC champion Fury. But several weeks ago, the World Boxing Council ruled that if Fury doesn’t set up a unification match with IBF/WBA/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk within 30 days, he would need to face his interim WBC champion next.
With Whyte being the interim champion, he would be Fury’s next opponent. For Whyte to pull out of his fight with Wallin after the WBC made that ruling, many boxing fans believe his true motives were to steer into the lucrative title shot against Fury rather than risk his hide against Wallin.
If Fury chooses not to fight Whyte, the WBC might strip him of his title.
Of course, Fury could ask to be elevated to Franchise champion and leave his WBC title for Whyte to fight for against the next highest ranked contender. In that case, Whyte would battle one of these highly-rated contenders for the vacant WBC title:
1. Deontay Wilder
2. Andy Ruiz Jr.
3. Joe Joyce
4. Luis Ortiz
“A date that would be appealing to us in the US, even if the fight took place in the UK, would be the middle of April because we have a college basketball tournament called March Madness which the country goes crazy for,” said Arum about when Fury should fight again. “It is tough to find a date for a big fight.”
As far as Whyte pulled out of his match with Wallin, it’s very, very suspicious-looking. With that said, if Whyte did fake the shoulder injury, you can’t blame him.
DILLIAN LOOKING WORN OUT
As bad as he’s looked in fights against Joseph Parker, journeyman Dereck Chisora, Mariusz Wach, and Alexander Povetkin, he’d likely lose to Wallin. Whyte is like another version of Chisora, and he’s not good enough to be counted on to beat an upper-tier contender like Wallin.
Whyte vs. Wallin would be a 50-50 affair, maybe even 55-45 in favor of the big Swede, as Dillian has shown signs of slippage lately due to age and wear & tear.
Just last year, Whyte was knocked out cold by 40-year-old Alexander Povetkin in the fifth round.
Whyte beat Povetkin in the rematch earlier this year, but that was with the Russian fighter coming off COVID-19, which left him looking considerably older than he’d been a year earlier. Povetkin looked depleted from his bout with COVID when he stepped into the ring for his rematch with Whyte last March.