Dillian Whyte has reportedly taken legal action against the World Boxing Council (WBC) in a bid to finally get a shot at the world heavyweight title.
‘The Body Snatcher’ (27-1) is the mandatory challenger for Tyson Fury’s belt with a deadline currently set for February 2021 for the bout to take place. But last week Fury announced that he had ‘agreed in principle’ to financial terms for a double-header with fellow British world champion Anthony Joshua in 2021.
That obviously threw into further doubt whether the 32-year-old Whyte would get his allotted shot at the title, and now – according to Sky Sports – he has upped the ante by taking legal action against the WBC.
The governing body’s president Mauricio Sulaiman told Sky Sports: “There is a procedure with regards to the date of the mandatory in the heavyweight division. Upon direct advice of WBC legal counsel I am not in position to discuss any further.”
Whyte defeated Oscar Rivas unanimously on points last July to secure his mandatory shot, but the events of the last week threw the chances of it happening into huge doubt. Fury remember already has a third meeting with Deontay Wilder contracted for later this year, so what are the chances of him being able to meet Joshua next summer after taking on Whyte in between?
There has been talk the WBC will elevate Fury to ‘franchise champion’ status (Canelo Alvarez at middleweight and Vasyl Lomachenko at lightweight already hold this designation). But while this would mean Whyte would become the WBC champion, it would throw up to other problematic scenarios. The first one would be for Whyte – would would miss out on the huge payday involved with actually getting into the ring with Fury (30-0-1).
And the second one was raised by former ESPN lead boxing writer Dan Rafael over the weekend – namely that the franchise champion status for Fury would scupper any chance of the winner of a fight with Joshua being the undisputed heavyweight champion.
He told IFL TV: “You can’t win the title. So let’s say Lomachenko goes in the ring against Teofimo Lopez as the WBC’s franchise lightweight champion and Teofimo Lopez should win the fight, he doesn’t get the WBC franchise title. So the point is I guess it’s cool to have, but it’s a trophy title.
“My perspective – and I’ve said this to Mauricio (Sulaiman), who obviously disagreed with me – I would say that the winner of a Fury vs Joshua fight, if Fury goes in as the franchise champion, the winner of the fight will be the lineal champion, will be the number one heavyweight in the world, will have the belts that Joshua has, but will not have the WBC title because that would be given to Whyte.
“So therefore while that winner is number one – no doubt about it – he’s not the undisputed champion and the reason why is because the undisputed champion means you’ve got all four titles. You wouldn’t have all four titles.”