SATURDAY’S showdown between Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker is a brilliant heavyweight fight, as evenly matched as any in the division, but it’s not The Fight. To some, it’s not a fight worthy of a headline slot on a pay-per-view fight card; to others, it’s a meaningless battle between Anthony Joshua victims. But when I say it’s not The Fight, what I mean is this: it’s a high-profile stepping stone for both, particularly the winner, and a semi-final in all but name.
The assumption, of course, is that the winner will pursue a rematch with Joshua at some point in 2019. If this is Whyte, there’s a very good chance of it happening. If, however, it’s Parker, don’t expect that to materialise just yet (he did, after all, only box Joshua three months ago).
But there are other options, too. Deontay Wilder, the WBC heavyweight champion, is one, and Tyson Fury, a former heavyweight champion of the world one fight into his comeback following a year-and-a-half-year hiatus, is also an interesting proposition.
“I’ve asked to fight Tyson Fury in September this year,” Whyte told IFL TV. “I’ve asked to fight Tyson Fury a few times. We made an approach.
“We were trying to get this work in September but Tyson’s not ready. Right now, I would steamroll that sucker.
“It took him about three rounds to get his mojo back against that tomato can (Sefer Seferi) he fought the other day.
“When Tyson gets his rhythm back, his boxing is long, and he’s awkward, but right now I’d destroy him.
“In the future I’d destroy him as well, but I’m just saying right now he does not want this work. No way.”
Fury, meanwhile, was today quick to pour cold water on the idea that he’s in communication with Whyte and his team regarding a potential fight. Taking to Twitter, the unbeaten Mancunian wrote: “If Dillian Whyte is in talks for a fight with the Gypsy king, I’d like to know who he and his team are talking to. Maybe Santa?
“Never mind me, focus on Joe Parker. (As he’s the) Hardest fight of your career. And as for the steamroller comment, then you woke up. Good luck.”
And that’s how it starts. Book it for September.
I don’t know the exact amount of money DAZN have thrown the way of promoter Eddie Hearn but what I do know is it’s enough to make Frank Warren, Hearn’s rival promoter in the UK, happily do business with him for an October fight between Billy Joe Saunders, Warren’s guy, and Demetrius Andrade, Hearn’s guy.
Unusually for these two, the whole thing ran smoothly. There wasn’t even any need for purse bids.
Instead, Hearn and Warren, with some much-needed mediating from MTK Global, came to an agreement minutes before the specified cut-off point and, just like that, we have ourselves a fight. More than that, we have ourselves a press conference or two featuring Hearn and Warren sat at the same top table alongside their respective boxers. And that, for some of us, will be every bit as exciting as what is undoubtedly a wonderful (if potentially dull) WBO middleweight title fight.
The back-and-forth has already started, by the way. Saunders led, Hearn followed, and then Warren, happy to see his man fight in America for what we assume is a life-changing payday, summed up his thought process.
See you soon Billy boy 👍🏼 https://t.co/h3nx4GFqSe
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) July 25, 2018
— Frank Warren (@frankwarren_tv) July 25, 2018
Lol. No we are Bill’s exclusive promoter and will remain that after this fight. Both us and him were happy with the terms and think he wins the fight whether it’s here or in Andrade’s back garden. As he showed against Lemieux he’s not fazed by a trip awayhttps://t.co/Zdu3VTr4W6
— Frank Warren (@frankwarren_tv) July 26, 2018
Moral of the story: with enough money on the table, anything can happen.