Wilder, Fury, Joshua and the heavyweight labyrinth

Deontay Wilder
Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Can we still get the heavyweight super-fights with Wilder, Fury and even Joshua? In an exclusive interview John Dennen speaks to WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman

FOR those who want to see Tyson Fury rematch Deontay Wilder there is potential cause for concern. Fury’s deal with ESPN, a major move in his career, could ultimately become a roadblock to finalising a fight with WBC heavyweight champion Wilder, who has previously boxed on Showtime and Fox broadcasts.

The WBC have mandated the rematch and both the Fury and Wilder sides are in negotiations, although those paused while the ESPN deal was finalised for Tyson. But Mauricio Sulaiman, the WBC president, is confident the process can still proceed smoothly and is in no rush to impose an imminent deadline that would send Wilder-Fury to purse bids.

“They’re in the negotiating period. I’ve been in communications with both parties up to last Friday and they both indicated that they are very close to reaching a deal, an agreement and that’s why they asked the WBC twice for an extension of time to allow this agreement to take place. So we’re going to communicate with them,” Sulaiman told Boxing News, “to understand what is their current situation, position and then go from there.

“We do not have a date right now [to end the negotiation phase] because we were updated by both that they are in the closing stages of an agreement.”

“Nothing has changed for the WBC. Today there was a big announcement, which could change the negotiation for the promoters. The WBC does not get involved in any matter of the business of the sport, we only do the administrative and the medical. So as I mentioned I’m going to contact them to see where they stand with the negotiations with the other party and once I have the specific response from both sides, then we can assess the situation,” Sulaiman continued. “That’s something the new world of sports is providing. This should be something interesting. Fans want to see these great fights take place again.”


Both Dillian Whyte and Dominic Breazeale were highly placed in the WBC’s heavyweight rankings but rather than be able to press their case for a shot at the world title, the WBC has created an Interim heavyweight strap and instructed the two to fight for it. Their teams are also in a period of negotiations now.

Sulaiman explained, “The fact is that Breazeale as mandatory contender has been waiting. He accepted the WBC decision from 2018 in which we were very active trying to support the Wilder versus [Anthony] Joshua fight. There were negotiations and we were open and positive. Once those negotiations fell apart each fighter took their own path, we decided on the fight against Fury, which was of tremendous interest and seemed to be a great fight and the rematch was ordered. Breazeale has been waiting, has been positive about it and Dillian Whyte fought three times last year, so in order to give activity to those fighters who have been in the rankings and to support their right we ordered an Interim championship with the winner becoming the absolute mandatory of the division.

“It allows the champion to take care of other commitments but at the same time gives the Interim champion respect and better conditions. So we feel very happy about this resolution.”

A Whyte-Breazeale winner would have an Interim strap and be “the absolute mandatory” and still might not the victor of Wilder’s next fight. A bout pitting the WBC heavyweight champion against unified WBO, WBA and IBF Anthony Joshua might still take preference over it.

“It’s a fight that would bring the heavyweight division back in the limelight of boxing,” Sulaiman said of a contest for an undisputed heavyweight king. “Now it’s a great opportunity. Boxing is excited about major blockbuster fights. The WBC of course will do whatever we can do under the rules and regulations to enhance and support what is best for the sport. There are many things that can happen in this period so we will be playing it by ear and try to make the best out of what happens day after day.”

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