Dillian Whyte could be on the verge of following Tyson Fury onto the books of ESPN and promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank, according to sources here in America.
Whyte, the British heavyweight who turned down a potential £5 million fight with Anthony Joshua at Wembley on April 13, is reportedly close to signing a lucrative, multi-fight contract.
Whyte will be following in the footsteps of Fury who has signed with the broadcaster and promoter in the US, while his alliance with Frank Warren and BT Sport remains in the UK. Whyte was promoted in his rise to a Box Office fighter in the UK by Eddie Hearn.
Fury, regarded as the lineal heavyweight champion, is expected to make his Top Rank/ESPN debut in the USA in either June or July. His opponent has not yet been announced and it may even be Whyte himself, who had gone nine fights unbeaten, including five knockouts, since Joshua defeated him in London three years ago.
Whyte is known to have had meetings with ESPN, Showtime, DAZN and Al Haymon on a trip to the USA last month.
Keith Idec, of BoxingScene.com, reported this morning here in the States that “an official announcement of Whyte’s deal with Top Rank and ESPN will be made once his contract is finalised”.
Whyte has fought once in the United States since he joined the paid ranks in May 2011, stopping Malcolm Tann in the third round on the undercard of Terence Crawford-Julius Indongo in August 2017.
Crawford fights Amir Khan on April 20 at Madison Square Garden, New York, with the Briton sparring at the Hayward, California, gym where he is in camp with trainer Virgil Hunter.
Just after Khan had finished sparring, he told The Telegraph he was “in excellent shape, and preparing for a great performance, maybe the performance of my career”, before watching Sativa James, who is just 14 years’ old, and is the great great great granddaughter of Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion of the world, spar barefoot in an informal session with women’s lightweight Rio Olympic Games champion Estelle Mossely.
The Telegraph was there to witness the light sparring and James, a 6ft tall teenager, looks to have great promise. Her father, coach Mike James, said they were aiming for the 2024 Olympic Games.