Cardiff is a potential host for the long-awaited bout which was sealed after Frank Warren won the purse bid in Mexico City
Tyson Fury will defend his World Boxing Council heavyweight title against Dillian Whyte after the protracted argument over his next fight was settled on Friday night.
Fury’s promoters Frank Warren and Bob Arum won the purse bid at WBC headquarters in Mexico City, lodging a bid of around £30.5 million which bettered rival Eddie Hearn’s offer of £24 million. The fight must take place within the next 90 days with Cardiff’s Principality Stadium the likely venue.
The two offers, confirmed by WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, completed the biggest purse bid in the history of boxing after months of negotiations and wrangling involving the respective management and promotional teams of Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk, the Ukrainian having beaten the Londoner on points four months ago to claim the IBF, WBA and WBO titles. Joshua is now set to fight Usyk again this spring, through a rematch agreement.
The fight date and venue for Fury-Whyte is yet to be confirmed with the bout likely to be aired on BT Sport Box Office in the UK with ESPN broadcasting the fight in the United States. Fury will earn £25m, with Whyte being paid £6 million, as dictated by the 80/20 purse split ordered by the WBC.
Whyte – through promoter Hearn – is still challenging the split, and has ongoing lawsuits with the WBC which are still in arbitration. It is understood that if Whyte is successful in his appeals, the WBC may be liable to pay the Brixton fighter any increase in his fee for the fight.
Warren, whose Queensberry Promotions tabled the bid, confirmed that the date and venue for two-time heavyweight champion Fury (unbeaten in 32 contests) and Whyte (28 wins, two defeats) to meet in an enticing contest.
A statement from Fury’s US promoter Top Rank read: “Queensberry and Top Rank are delighted that WBC and lineal world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will defend his titles against Dillian Whyte following today’s purse bids. A venue and date for the fight will be announced in due course.”
A statement from Queensberry Promotions added: “The World Boxing Council implemented an innovation some years ago, by having 10% of the amount as a bonus to the winner of the fight, thus giving great additional incentive interest. In this case, the winner will receive a bonus of $4,102,500.00.”
The purse bid had been postponed three times as Fury’s team were locked in a deal for Fury to fight Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight title next, with talks ongoing since last November. However, in the last 48 hours, claim and counter claim have seen Hearn insist that Fury’s demands for Joshua to step aside for Fury-Usyk to go ahead were untenable, echoed by Usyk’s team on Thursday.
Joshua had appeared interested in the move with discussions of a £15m step-aside fee and a guaranteed fight with the winner for the undisputed title. Whyte was also reportedly willing to step aside from his meeting with Fury for a fee of £5m.
However, Hearn accused Fury of rejecting a fight with Usyk unless he had a ‘warm-up fight’ in March first, though Fury used social media to counter-claim that Joshua and Hearn had rejected the step-aside offer.
Joshua will now attempt to win back his belts from Usyk at either Wembley or the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in late April, or more likely now, in May.
Fury promises Whyte the ‘best hiding he’s ever had’
By Gareth A Davies
Tyson Fury has vowed to “annihilate” Dillian Whyte who was confirmed on Friday night as his next opponent in all-British bout for the World Boxing Council heavyweight title.
Seemingly turning his focus to Whyte, Fury said on Thursday: “I can’t wait to punch Dillian Whyte’s face right in. I’m going to give him the best hiding he’s ever had in his life, boy. Dillian Whyte, train hard sucker ‘cos you’re getting annihilated, bum.”
Fury also accused Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn of being “the worst businessmen in the world” for not concluding the tabled step-aside deal, with Joshua entitled to a contractual rematch against Usyk after losing three of the world title belts to the Ukrainian on September 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The self-styled Gypsy King claimed Joshua and Hearn had “lost $90million in a day” in reference to Joshua’s step-aside fee and guaranteed purse to meet the winner, though Hearn insisted Fury’s demands had stalled an agreement.
“You never know what he [Fury] wants from one day to the next but at the moment he is insisting on a warm up fight with his mandatory challenger Whyte which would delay everything.
“AJ can’t wait around all year while Fury goes on to meet Usyk in late summer. He would need contracted cast-iron guarantees that he would get his chance of becoming the undisputed champion by December at the latest,” said Hearn.
The complexity of the talks also extend to Whyte, who has the right to challenge for the belt held by Fury. The purse bid situation has also been further nuanced with Whyte having disputed and subsequently appealed the 80/20 purse split in favour of the champion ordered by the WBC.
And furthermore, Whyte is also locked in legal battles with the WBC over his status and lack of opportunity to fight for the belt going back two years. That, too, is likely to need to be resolved before Fury and Whyte meet in the ring.