The mysterious obstacles between Dillian Whyte and his shot at Deontay Wilder

Dillian Whyte
Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Dillian Whyte thought he had secured a mandatory shot at WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. But it is turning out to be not so straightforward, writes John Dennen

DILLIAN WHYTE is having to pick his way through a complicated heavyweight landscape to make sure he gets his shot at a world title.

He is in a good position, he could fight Kubrat Pulev to become mandatory for the IBF heavyweight title, a belt held by Anthony Joshua. Unified WBA, WBO and IBF champion Joshua however has obligations of his own to navigate. “The WBA’s mandatory is [Alexander] Povetkin. We’re in a negotiation period at the moment. Obviously if we want to fight [Deontay] Wilder, we’ll ask for an exception. It’s an undisputed fight. If we [Joshua] wanted a voluntary [before Povetkin], we’d ask for that. 50-50 whether they’d grant it to us or not,” promoter Eddie Hearn explained.

With victory over Lucas Browne, Whyte thought he had locked down the right to challenge WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. But it is turning out to not be so straightforward. “Absolutely bizarre,” lamented Hearn. “It’s when [Dominic] Breazeale boxed [Eric] Molina, I think he was number three or four [in the rankings], against number 11, and they announced it as a final eliminator. And I came back said no, no, because Dillian was one or two at the time. We’re ready to fight Wilder. [WBC president] Mauricio Sulaiman came back to me and said that fight is not a final eliminator. The media asked the WBC, the WBC confirmed in writing it’s not a final eliminator, it’s just an eliminator. We thought we’d fight [Robert] Helenius for the WBC Silver title, try and become the WBC mandatory, we took that fight, paid our sanctioning fees. He won, then we’re number in the WBC. Then he fights Lucas Browne, a defence of his WBC Silver title, wins that, we’re number one. Great, going really well. Of course, he’s [Whyte] been offered a final eliminator with Kubrat Pulev. He’s in a great spot.”

The promoter continued, “Then they [the WBC] send us a final eliminator between Whyte and [Luis] Ortiz. It’s a bit strange. Whyte’s one, Ortiz is three, what about Breazeale? He’s two. He must be fighting Wilder. That’s what I’m thinking. Now I see it’s for the secondary mandatory and the first mandatory is Breazeale. The next mandatory is Breazeale and Dillian will be the second mandatory.”

Dillian Whyte

Cuba’s Ortiz has recently lost a challenge for Wilder’s WBC title but it suddenly being thrust forward as a possible opponent for Whyte. “You can have two mandatories on the spin [but] we’ve obviously complained, they’re going to talk about a resolution. We don’t mind fighting Ortiz if it’s to become the mandatory, not if it’s to become the second mandatory,” Hearn said.

“He just doesn’t seem to want to fight Dillian Whyte. What I’m saying is if [Wilder] fights Breazeale, that should be a voluntary. What they’re trying to do is, if they don’t get the Joshua fight, they will say we’re going to deal with our mandatory, Dominic Breazeale.”

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