British boxer Dillian Whyte believes Tyson Fury should vacate the WBC Heavyweight title after postponing his anticipated clash with Deontay Wilder.
The Gypsy King was due to defend the title he took from Wilder in late July, but ESPN reported that an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Fury camp meant the bout had been postponed. It is believed the rescheduled fight could now take place on October 9, but in the meantime, WBC interim Heavyweight Champions Whyte thinks he should have a chance to defeat Wilder.
Fury originally wanted a unification match with Anthony Joshua, but a court ruled he had to face Wilder for the third time. That left Joshua needing to beat Oleksandr Usyk in their match up scheduled for September 9. Should Joshua come through that fight, which Bwin rank Joshua as the favorite, he would likely face either Fury or Wilder in what could be billed as the fight of the century. That now looks in doubt as Wilder has to wait for his British opponent until later in the year.
Fury has the upper hand against the 35-year-old Wilder, having already beaten him once, as well as sharing a controversial draw in their opening bout. They could now be made to wait until the Fall for the third fight, with the T-Mobile Arena booked for Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao and Errol Spence on August 24, as well as a UFC event on Labor Day weekend. That’s why Whyte believes he should be named interim champion and given a chance to hand Wilder only his second professional defeat.
“This is why they have the interim champion,” Whyte said. “When stuff like this happens and the champion can’t fight, or for whatever reason can’t defend the title, then the interim champion steps up. That’s how Wilder became champion in the first place.
“Remember Vitali Klitschko wasn’t able to defend the title, because he was in the process of becoming a mayor, and they made him emeritus champion and made the other belt for Stiverne to fight Arreola and then Wilder for, so this is a similar thing.
“Make me world champion, I’ll fight Wilder as a world champion, and the winner of that fights Tyson Fury, and the winner of that fights Anthony Joshua for the undisputed.”
The big question isn’t whether Whyte should be given that chance; there is a precedent that could see it happen. The real poser is whether Wilder, who has won every fight apart from his bouts with Fury, would risk facing Whyte at this stage of his career and possibly losing out on his chance of redemption against Fury. For Whyte, there’s every advantage to picking up the WBC belt because if he were to come out of a bout with Wilder, then it could be him and not Fury fighting Joshua for the right to unify the titles for only the second time this century.
Having lost to Joshua in 2015, Whyte has unfinished business with the WBA, IBF and WBO Champion, and by getting in on the WBC action, he could crowbar himself into the reckoning almost by default. Whyte has claimed he is ready to step in the ring on July 24, fresh off the back of his March win against Alexander Povetkin, where he won the interim title for a second time after initially losing to the same opponent in August 2020.
Whether WBC chiefs will see fit to drop Whyte in at late notice is another matter, but he does have a good point. Why have an interim champion if they’re not used in times of crisis such as this? Whether Fury would be happy or not is another question yet to be answered. Given his colossal selling power globally, would WBC chiefs risk taking the title from him and then facing Joshua anyway and not fighting for their belt? Many big questions have yet to be answered in what is developing into a fascinating power struggle within the heavyweight ranks.