Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte would be a special heavyweight fight but time is running out to seal the deal

Tyson Fury has been ordered to defend his WBC heavyweight title against Dillian Whyte

Another year, another wait for a heavyweight fight.

George Foreman walked away from a second Muhammad Ali fight, Lennox Lewis never got a rematch with Riddick Bowe and dozens of other important heavyweight title fights simply never happened.

Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury might fight in March, it might be in London and it might be for the WBC’s heavyweight championship of the world. It might happen.

Whyte is Fury’s mandatory challenger and there was meant to be a purse bid at noon in the Mexico City headquarters of the WBC on Tuesday to determine the promoter of the fight. At a purse bid, the highest bid to promote the fight is the winner; it’s an ancient ritual and it works.

However, last Sunday, as the distance between hope and reality widened, the purse bid was inevitably shifted back to next Tuesday 18 January, at noon in the WBC’s boardroom. It might still be a push to find a winner and, more importantly, for all sides involved in the mandatory title fight to agree terms. They will never be friends, trust me.


There is not even mutual agreement on the split of the winning bid; Whyte and his people wanted and demanded and expected 45 percent of the bid, but the WBC decided on 20 percent, and that left Fury with 80 percent. There is arbitration pending to settle the amount and that is unlikely to be resolved before next week. It’s actually set for March, which is a big problem as Fury is ready to fight in March. Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren, has offered 26 March as a fight date. It’s a mess, make no mistake.

The gap in percentage expectation compared to the percentage on offer is because the WBC decided that the split should be based on a boxer’s previous earnings. Fury has made a lot of money recently and that was the factor in the 80-20 decision. But percentages should never be the factor in a fight falling through; the deal should be made or lost forever over the cash guarantee. Basically, in simple terms, the old axiom from the game should be applied: Who wants 90 per cent of a tenner when you can have ten per cent of a million? The answer, by the way, is a fool.

Warren will try and do a deal with Whyte’s representatives, balance the demands of the WBC and all other interested parties to get a Whyte and Fury fight across the line for March. There is still, in theory, time to make it happen and the boxing business is rich with tales of bigger rabbits being plucked from hats. Warren is an accomplished magician at this level. “We want to do the fight in March,” Warren confirmed on Monday morning.

There is a week to reach a deal, a week of talks, swollen egos, swollen bank accounts and there is always the awful chance that the fight simply never happens. The business has lost bigger nights and fights before and will again.

Back in 1974, Foreman lost his world title and his way in life when he was caught, dropped and exposed by Ali in The Rumble in the Jungle. The fight had started with genuine fears for Ali’s life and ended in utter desolation for Foreman in round eight. It remains one of the greatest and most natural rematches in boxing history, but it never came close to happening. In 1977, Foreman took 10 years away from the sport to walk the streets with a worn bible; Ali lost and regained the heavyweight championship in 1978. Ali vs Foreman II at Madison Square Garden in 1975 is the one that got away.

Dillian Whyte is on the verge of a big payday


Bowe was stopped by Lewis in the Olympic final in 1988 and wanted a rematch from the moment the referee intervened. Lewis was open to talks about a rematch, agreed figures, waited for contracts, but it never happened. The pair shared the world heavyweight title, had opponents in common and certainly had enough hate for a rematch. Bowe still glares at Lewis now. It would have been simply sensational in 1993 when both were world heavyweight champions, unbeaten, dangerous, vulnerable, young and stupid. What a fight we lost and there would have been a third.

It’s no fun in the boxing game mourning a lost fight at any level. Let’s hope that Fury and Whyte and their people can get it made. It will be a special event and we have lost too many of those over the decades. Let’s get the magic wand out now, please.

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