Dillian Whyte is on the verge of a fight for the WBC heavyweight title.
Brixton’s ‘Body Snatcher’ has been the sanctioning body’s top ranked contender since November 2017 and finally became mandatory challenger after beating Oscar Rivas in July 2019.
Whyte holds the WBC ‘interim’ belt and is mandatory for Tyson Fury
It has been a bumpy road along the way, but Whyte now appears to be on the home stretch.
First though, he must conquer Alexander Povetkin on Saturday night at Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Fight Camp.
This bout is for the WBC ‘interim’ title Whyte already holds, as well as the WBC ‘diamond’ belt, which is effectively just a pretty trinket/trophy.
The meaningful position is Whyte’s mandatory one, and it will be at stake on Saturday.
Whyte vs Povetkin is happening at Fight Camp on Saturday
What Angered Whyte?
The dispute over Whyte’s title wait initially began back in late 2017, not long after he became the number one contender in their rankings by beating Robert Helenius for the WBC ‘silver’ belt.
Being the number one contender does not guarantee you a world title shot, nor does it make you mandatory.
However, it does put you in prime position to be considered when the next final eliminator fight (which determines the next mandatory) is due to be called.
Unfortunately for Whyte, the WBC’s next final eliminator had already been set beforehand with Bermane Stiverne vs Dominic Breazeale on the undercard of Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz in November 2017.
Whyte beat Helenius and became number one with the WBC
An opportunity opened up though when Ortiz failed a drugs test and was ruled out of the main event. This meant Stiverne jumped up and fought Wilder in November 2017.
As Stiverne was no longer fighting Breazeale on the undercard, Breazeale faced Eric Molina instead. The WBC initially denied this contest was still a final eliminator, but later made a U-turn and revealed that it was.
This meant that Breazeale earned his place as mandatory ahead of Whyte despite only being number six in the rankings himself, while Molina was number twelve.
When this all came to light in April 2018, the WBC offered Whyte a final eliminator against Ortiz which would have made him second mandatory after Breazeale. The Brit opted to face Joseph Parker instead.
Breazeale beat Molina to become the next mandatory, but there was controversy over whether this should’ve been a final eliminator
The next issue came in February 2019 when it looked as if Wilder was going to rematch Tyson Fury straight away following their December 2018 draw.
Whyte was ordered by the WBC to face Breazeale for the ‘interim’ belt in the meantime – a fight which would have seen him take Breazeale’s mandatory spot had he won.
However, Fury opted out of the immediate rematch with Wilder and so the WBC then scrapped the Breazeale vs Whyte order.
They instead ordered Wilder to defend against Breazeale (who was already mandatory after beating Molina).
Fury decided to face Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin before returning to rematch Wilder
Whyte was left out until the WBC agreed to sanction his bout against Oscar Rivas in July 2019 as a new final eliminator.
The ‘Body Snatcher’ won and finally became mandatory challenger. He was due to get his title shot in mid-2020.
Then his UKAD situation hit.
As all details were kept confidential during this case, Whyte’s future was unclear.
Whyte’s UKAD situation hindered his progression in 2019
Therefore, at their convention in October 2019, the WBC decided to suspend his mandatory status and make Fury the next mandatory instead.
They ruled that if Whyte was cleared by UKAD, he would now only become mandatory in February 2021.
Whyte ultimately was cleared by UKAD and so was furious to find his position had been handed to a rival despite the fact he was free to fight.
Fury dethroned Wilder in their rematch
Whyte’s Other Opportunities
For years Whyte has been adamant that he wants the WBC mandatory position.
However, he did look into other options and was also number one in the WBO rankings and highly ranked with the IBF.
In April 2018, the IBF ordered their number one challenger Kubrat Pulev to fight Whyte in a final eliminator for Anthony Joshua’s title.
Pulev’s reps won the purse bids with a huge bid of $1.5million, significantly more than the second placed bid of $831,000 from Eddie Hearn.
Pulev was an option for Whyte in 2018
They planned to stage the bout in Bulgaria and it would have been a 75%/25% purse split in favour of Pulev.
Whyte ultimately opted to pursue the bout with Joseph Parker in the UK instead.
Pulev’s team put out a statement slamming Whyte and accusing him of ‘running away’ from the fight in Bulgaria.
Pulev instead fought Hughie Fury in a final eliminator later in 2018 and won – this is why he is now mandatory for Joshua.
Joshua knocked out Whyte when they met in 2015, but Whyte won their 2009 amateur bout
In January 2019, AJ made an approach for Whyte to face him at Wembley that year.
Whyte branded the opening offer ‘utterly ridiculous’ and said it was less than what he made to fight Derek Chisora in their rematch.
Further negotiations went on but a deal could not be reached even though Eddie Hearn said he felt a ‘good offer’ had been made.
Whyte argued with Hearn and remains adamant Joshua was not serious in the negotiations and always wanted to face Jarrell Miller in New York instead.
Meanwhile, the WBO ultimately opted to make undisputed ‘super’ champion Oleksandr Usyk their mandatory instead of Whyte in June 2019 as he’d moved up from cruiserweight.
Usyk’s cruiserweight achievments warranted a heavyweight mandatory shot
What happens if Whyte beats Povetkin?
If Whyte defeats Povetkin on Saturday night, he would take home the WBC ‘interim’ and ‘diamond’ belts.
Most importantly he’d retain his position as mandatory challenger.
The WBC have stated that the winner of Fury vs Wilder 3 must face Whyte next.
The WBC ‘diamond’ belt is just used as a trophy
When would Whyte’s title shot take place?
As things stand it is currently unclear exactly when Whyte would get his world title fight.
At last week’s WBC convention Mauricio Sulaiman declared that, should he beat Povetkin, they will order Whyte’s shot on the day after Fury vs Wilder 3.
Due to the pandemic though, it is unclear when that fight will take place and Sulaiman said they are willing to be flexible with the dates.
If Fury vs Wilder 3 happens on December 19 as planned, the winner will not get back in the ring to defend the belt against Whyte just two months later.
Whyte now looks set to wait beyond even the February 2021 date for his shot.
Whyte wants to fight for the title ASAP
Is there a way out for the champion?
There are a couple of WBC rules which usually allow for some wiggle room for their champion when it comes to mandatories.
The first regulation is listed as ‘Rule 3.8 Special Bout Sanction’ and states that for certain special contests, mandatories can be put on hold.
The second regulation is their new ‘franchise champion’ status, which effectively would allow Whyte to become champion while the Fury vs Wilder 3 winner was upgraded to a new status where they do not have to face mandatories.
talkSPORT.com contacted the WBC to enquire as to whether they would consider either of these rules in this case. The WBC declined to comment.
Other than these regulations, the only possible way out would be for the champion to vacate the title, which would see Whyte upgraded to become full champion.
WBC Rule 3.8 Special Bout Sanction
“Under special circumstances, including a bout involving an elite contender, a champion of another organisation, a match or tournament that the WBC determines in its sole discretion would be in the best interests of boxing, or any other applicable special circumstance, the WBC may order and/or sanction any such bout as either a voluntary or mandatory defence and may order that any such special bout take precedence over and occur prior to any previously designated mandatory defence.
“Under the circumstances set forth in the preceding paragraph, any previously-designated mandatory challenge may be ordered by the WBC: (i) to occur immediately after the special bout or tournament with no intervening bout, (ii) to be rescheduled to occur after one or more voluntary bouts, or (iii) postponed by the WBC until such time as the champion is required to defend against his next mandatory challenger.”
What does this mean for Fury vs Joshua?
It has been confirmed that Fury and Joshua have agreed financial terms to meet twice in 2021, providing they both win their upcoming contests.
However, if Whyte is forced upon the Fury vs Wilder 3 winner, then that could obstruct the bout.
It all depends on how strict the WBC are going to be next year and it also depends on what decision Fury makes with his WBC belt.
If he vacates in order to face Joshua instead of Whyte, then the fight with AJ would still happen but would no longer be for all four titles and the historic ‘undisputed’ status.
Fury and Joshua came face-to-face last month
What happens if Povetkin beats Whyte?
It is likely that a win for Povetkin on Saturday night could massively ease the pressure on the Fury vs Joshua fight.
Seemingly, the Russian would not take Whyte’s mandatory date, but instead would be assigned his own date of August 2021.
When asked this question recently, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told Boxing Social: “Someone who wins that right to be mandatory takes the date from the time when he wins.
“It is something to be analysed in a specific situation, but usually if Povetkin was to win, he has earned the [mandatory] rights for within a year from that victory.”
It has not been confirmed, but there may be a rematch clause in the contract for Whyte vs Povetkin.
If Povetkin beats Whyte, he wouldn’t get an immediate title shot
Dillian Whyte’s full WBC timeline
- September 2017: Bermane Stiverne and Dominic Breazeale agreed to a fight (on the undercard of Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz I) that was sanctioned by the WBC as a final eliminator for the mandatory position to Wilder
- October 2017: Luis Ortiz failed a drugs test and Bermane Stiverne was elevated to fight Deontay Wilder in the main event
- October 2017: As a result, Dominic Breazeale agreed to fight Eric Molina on the undercard instead and this bout was sanctioned by the WBC as a final eliminator for the mandatory position to Wilder
- November 2017: Dominic Breazeale beat Eric Molina in the final eliminator and became mandatory to Deontay Wilder – the mandatory would be due in a year’s time
- April 2018: The WBC ordered Dillian Whyte vs Luis Ortiz as a final eliminator to become second mandatory to Deontay Wilder (after Dominic Breazeale)
- July 2018: The Dillian Whyte vs Luis Ortiz final eliminator did not happen and Whyte fought Joseph Parker instead
- October 2018: The WBC allowed Deontay Wilder to fight Tyson Fury so long as he then faced Dominic Breazeale immediately afterwards
- December 2018: Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury had a controversial draw
- January 2019: The WBC ordered Deontay Wilder to rematch Tyson Fury next
- February 2019: The WBC ordered Dominic Breazeale to fight Dillian Whyte for the WBC ‘interim’ title and as a final eliminator for the mandatory position to Deontay Wilder
- February 2019: Tyson Fury opted out of the Deontay Wilder rematch
- March 2019: The WBC ordered Deontay Wilder to face Dominic Breazeale next instead because he was originally mandatory
- July 2019: The WBC sanctioned Dillian Whyte vs Oscar Rivas for the WBC ‘interim’ title and as a final eliminator for the mandatory position to Deontay Wilder
- July 2019: Dillian Whyte beat Oscar Rivas in the final eliminator and became mandatory to Deontay Wilder – the mandatory would be due in 2020
- July 2019: The WBC provisionally suspended Dillian Whyte‘s recognition as ‘interim’ champion and mandatory challenger to Deontay Wilder pending the outcome of an investigation into his reported UKAD adverse finding
- October 2019: The WBC handed Dillian Whyte’s 2020 mandatory position to Tyson Fury and announced that if Whyte is cleared with his UKAD situation, he’ll only become mandatory in February 2021
- December 2019: Dillian Whyte cleared of all wrongdoing by UKAD
- December 2019: The WBC lifted Dillian Whyte‘s suspension as ‘interim’ heavyweight champion and said he will become mandatory in February 2021
- February 2020: Tyson Fury beat Deontay Wilder and became WBC world champion
- August 2020: The WBC reaffirmed Dillian Whyte would be mandatory for the winner of Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3 in early 2021
- August 2020: The WBC sanctioned Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin for the WBC ‘diamond’ belt