PROVIDING they are paid enough pennies to do so, it seems inevitable that Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte will at some point meet in the ring.
Though neither currently hold a world heavyweight title, they are two of the more interesting and marketable characters on the heavyweight scene and their profiles increase month on month. As their stock rises, so too does the likelihood of them one day meeting – or at least discussing it.
Larger than life, the pair have been linked to a potential fight ever since Fury announced his link-up with Top Rank and ESPN and few would deny its appeal. It would, in fact, make a lot of sense, particularly if Fury, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder intend to continue their prolonged period of flirting.
Fury, for his part, seems willing to entertain the idea of fighting Whyte once he has dealt with an overmatched German, Tom Schwarz, on June 15 in Las Vegas. So long as the WBC offer him the right kind of meaningless trinket, that is.
“I just want to send a special message to the WBC who have supported me in my comeback and have been very fair with me,” Fury, 27-0-1 (19), said in an Instagram video.
“I recently saw your quote about fighting for the interim title against Dillian Whyte, and I thank you for your interest.
“But because I beat Deontay Wilder – though I didn’t get the decision I still won and the world knows – I propose that we make me and Dillian Whyte for the WBC diamond belt, not the interim belt.
“I will take care of Dillian Whyte and I will knock him out within six rounds.
“I accept the challenge. Thank you very much. I will fight Dillian Whyte every day of the week and twice on a Sunday.
“Let’s get it on!”
As well as being entertainers, Fury and Whyte are also two of the shrewdest negotiators out there. Aware of their worth, they drive a hard bargain, will accept only what they think they deserve, and could, for this very reason, conceivably end up negotiating their way out of a fight not long after discussions have begun.
Still, the early signs are good.
“Let’s do it then, Tyson Fury,” Whyte, 25-1 (18), responded.
“I’d fight you anytime, anywhere, seven days a week and five times on Sunday. I look forward to putting you to sleep.
“Let’s go, baby.”
Seven days a week and five times on Sunday would amount to (I think) 11 fights between the pair. There’s really no need. Someone needs to tell Dillian Whyte we’d all be happy with just one.
As far as world title fights go, a super-middleweight one between Billy Joe Saunders and Shefat Isufi on Saturday (May 18) hardly does much to shake up the division nor move us any closer to identifying the number one boxer at 168 pounds.
Saunders, in fact, has never boxed (officially) at the weight, while Isufi competes at super-middleweight because he came up short as a light-heavyweight. But that they fight for the WBO title this weekend is not Saunders’ fault, nor is it Isufi’s. Opportunity has knocked and both have answered. Now, thanks to Gilberto Ramirez heading north and vacating his old title, the WBO belt is somehow theirs for the taking.
“I was always assured by Frank Warren and MTK that the fight would be for the full version of the world title,” said Saunders, 29, a former WBO champion at middleweight.
“They told me not to get impatient when it was just the interim title. That is what I’ve done and it has happened to work out for the best.
“Being called a two-weight world champion sounds nice and it is good for the history books.
“Boxing is a business, but to be a two-weight world champion is something you dream of growing up and here is my chance to achieve it.
“It is the icing on the cake and I have got to deliver. It’s no good fighting for it. I’ve got to win it.”
Isufi, a German-based Serbian, has won 10 fights in a row since losing at light-heavyweight to Dariusz Sek in 2015. Unfortunately, few of the names he defeated during that run are recognisable and Sek, a so-so Pole recently stopped in seven rounds by Anthony Yarde, remains Isufi’s best opponent to date. His record is 27-3-2 (20).
Saunders, meanwhile, has failed to capitalise on a brilliant win against David Lemieux in December 2017 but is young enough, at 29, to make up for lost time. His reign as WBO middleweight champion came to an end when a failed VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) drug test scuppered a scheduled defence against Demetrius Andrade in October 2018. He then turned down the opportunity to box Andrade as mandatory challenger after the WBO ordered the fight in January.
“For one the financial gain was silly, silly change,” he told World Boxing News. “Then there was nothing going my way. I would have been going to his back yard again, where I didn’t get fairly treated the first time.
“The thing with the super-middleweights is that everyone is willing to fight everyone. There is nobody sitting back hanging out for the last pound and that is what I like about it.
“I’ve been at the top of the middleweights and the stars at the top want all of the pie and everything their own way.”
A fine talent on his day, Saunders, 27-0 (13), beat Charles Adamu in December, while competing at a weight of 178 pounds, and knows it is now time to get serious and fulfil his undoubted potential.