Danny Flexen maps the proposed Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte contest from WBC proposal to the bitter end, through several changes of heart
May 8: Promoter Eddie Hearn declares his wish for Dillian Whyte vs Oscar Rivas – his O2 heavyweight main event for July 20 – to be made a final WBC eliminator.
May 8: WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman reveals the body instead plan to order Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte in a final eliminator for their heavyweight championship, held by Deontay Wilder, should both men win their scheduled next fights, against Tom Schwarz and Rivas, respectively. Whyte, the longtime WBC No. 1 contender, initially appeals this ruling, feeling he has earned a direct shot.
May 9: It seems neither side want the fight, as Fury’s co-promoter Frank Warren affirms to us his belief that his charge will get a straight shot without the need for an eliminator. He says Whyte is being “mismanaged”.
May 9: Whyte decides he does want the Fury fight after all. “If Fury wants to fight, he knows where I am. But I can’t see the fight happening,” Dillian tells TalkSport.
May 10: Not so fast, Hearn tells IFL TV (and, indirectly, the WBC). “You can order the fight but it ain’t gonna happen,” he states. “He’s [Fury] just pulled out of a Wilder fight. He’s not going to take a 50/50 split against Dillian Whyte when he could have fought Wilder with a 50/50 split.”
May 11: Fury appears to agree with Hearn. “I don’t need to fight eliminators to fight people,” he points out to Behind the Gloves. “I already had a Deontay Wilder fight the other day without an eliminator… I ain’t being ordered to do anything by anybody. I’ve got my own s*** going on, I’m going at my own pace and I do what I wanna do.” Amusingly, he also urges the WBC to give Whyte a direct title shot.
May 14: Fury then changes his mind, takes to Instagram and says, “I accept the challenge. I’ll fight Dillian Whyte every day of the week." Whyte responds – on Twitter of course – “"Let’s do it then. I’d fight you anytime, anywhere. I propose that we make me and Dillian Whyte for the WBC Diamond belt, not the Interim belt.”
May 16: In his TalkSport column, Whyte appears sceptical regarding Fury’s new proposal: “Forget what he has said this week, it’s all rubbish. I wasn’t born yesterday. It is a delaying tactic by Fury.”
May 16: Clearly more convinced than Whyte, Warren warms a tad to the idea. “I don’t want him thinking beyond the next fight,” he says. “Once that’s done it’s obviously a conversation that can be had.”
May 23: After a week of things going quiet – counterintuitively often a good sign in boxing – Hearn tells IFL he has informed the WBC that he and Dillian will accept the Whyte vs Fury fight for the Diamond belt, though still doubts Fury wants it.
May 27: Hearn ostensibly becomes more confident, telling IFL he expects Whyte to be crowned WBC Interim champ after beating Rivas, then will squeeze in a Fury fight before challenging Wilder. “It’s on,” he surmises, although this appears to be based partly on Fury’s comments from two weeks previously.
May 29: Fury finally breaks his silence – at least on this issue – and appears to rule the fight out: “I don’t think it’s gonna happen to be honest. Dillian Whyte for a mandatory slot? I’m not interested.”
May 30: Hearn reveals Whyte is p***ed off about Fury’s second U-turn and he personally is “gutted”. An epidemic of grief rapidly engulfs the nation.
May 30: Back in his TalkSport pulpit, Whyte is… well, it seems Hearn may have underestimated his man’s anger somewhat, but “The Bodysnatcher” still retains hope the showdown can happen. “He’s the one who called me out in the first place so there’s no way that he can pull out now – whatever he says in public,” rages Whyte, before later taking shots at Fury’s trainer Ben Davison. “He asked for the Diamond belt and the WBC have agreed to put it on the line, so there can be no more excuses… let’s get it on in the Autumn, after I have dealt with Rivas on July 20… I’m 100% confident that I’ll put him to sleep. Is he the Gypsy King or the Gypsy Coward?”