LIKE most fights in the heavyweight division these days, a mooted clash between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte seemed too good to be true.
Some outlets got ahead of themselves earlier in the week, declaring the bout all but finalised, but this is apparently well wide of the mark.
The fight was first mentioned by the WBC, who liked the idea of doing it for their interim title, and both boxers showed an interest.
Fury, however, though receptive to the fight, couldn’t stomach contesting an interim title when he remains convinced he beat Deontay Wilder for the full WBC heavyweight title back in December. He proposed instead that he fights Whyte for a WBC diamond title and everybody was in agreement that, belt or no belt, the fight made sense.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen.
“It’s news to me Tyson Fury is fighting Dillian Whyte,” Frank Warren, Fury’s promoter, told Metro.co.uk.
“We’ll see what happens. First of all, where’s that fight going on? Fury’s got a television contract with ESPN.
“Nothing’s been agreed or signed yet. I’ve not spoken to Matchroom at all about it. I’ve spoken to Fury and he said he would get it on.
“But it’ll be interesting if we do manage to do it. That fight would have to be in the UK, but then who broadcasts it? There is no way in this world that fight would happen if it wasn’t on BT Sport.”
Rumours of the fight nearing completion gathered momentum, it would seem, when Whyte’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, dangled the possibility of the fight while on Anthony Joshua duty in America.
“It’s very likely that the Oscar Rivas fight will be for the interim WBC world title, and then we have confirmed we are happy to fight Tyson Fury next,” he told iFL.TV.
“Because he came out and said he will fight Dillian Whyte for the diamond belt, we wrote to the WBC and said, ‘Great news, Tyson Fury will fight Dillian Whyte for the diamond belt.’ So, we’re in for that now.”
Warren, though liking the idea of the fight, is less optimistic Fury meets Whyte this year.
“I think it’s a 50/50 job,” he said. “The plan for Tyson hasn’t changed: a couple of fights in America and then the big one against Wilder. Originally, I thought the rematch (with Wilder) would happen at the end of this year, but it will definitely happen next year. That is the priority. I speak to (Wilder’s co-manager) Shelly Finkel quite a bit and those talks will continue.”
Fury, the fighter in question, is reading from the same page. When asked by US reporters about the likelihood of the Whyte fight, he said: “I don’t think it’s going to happen, to be honest.
“Dillian Whyte for a mandatory slot? I’m not interested. I’m the ‘lineal’ heavyweight champion of the world.
“As far as I’m concerned, Dillian Whyte’s a bum and I’ll give him a knockout beating if he wants one.
“But, you know, it is what it is. I’ve got to get past Tom Schwarz first (on June 15). And as for people telling me what to do, it doesn’t go down very well.”
Without wishing to tell Tyson Fury what to do, we can at least point out that the lineal heavyweight title, for all its history, means very little in 2019, when other belts are available and when other champions are in possession of them. Until some order is found, they’re all in this together, all scrapping for the same pieces of gold, every so-called belt as inconsequential as the rest.
Amir Khan has spent a large chunk of his career trying to either fight or follow Floyd Mayweather and now, according to Sportsmail, he has moved a step closer to at least achieving the latter.
Like Mayweather, who ventured to Japan for a New Year’s Eve exhibition fight with kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa, it would appear Khan is set for a money-spinning exhibition bout of his own, this time in Saudi Arabia against former MMA fighter Neeraj Goyat.
Sportsmail suggest Khan is close to finalising a £7 million deal to headline an India vs. Pakistan boxing event on July 27, which is expected to be formally announced on Friday. They believe Khan is currently in Saudi Arabia signing contracts and will return to London next week for a June 5 press conference.
Goyat had two fights as a mixed martial artist, winning both, before making the switch to pro boxing in 2011. He lost his debut, and went without a win in his first four bouts, but now boasts a record of 11-3-2 (2). He goes by the nickname ‘Gangster’ and typically competes as a welterweight.
Khan, also a welterweight, was last seen losing in six rounds to WBO world champion Terence Crawford, one of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet, in April.
Now, in going from Crawford to Govat, Khan has downgraded something awful but will presumably make more money having fun in Saudi Arabia than he did getting dropped, outboxed and punched in the balls by ‘Bud’ Crawford at Madison Square Garden.
Say what you want about Khan, now 32, but it’s tough to question his business acumen. It remains sharp.