In the last week, Top Rank’s CEO Bob Arum and heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte have traded words in the press.
Whyte holds the World Boxing Council’s interim-title and he is the mandatory challenger to the WBC’s full champion, Tyson Fury.
Fury is contracted to fight Deontay Wilder in a trilogy fight, which is going to take place before the end of the year.
Pursuant to an order by the WBC, Whyte is due his mandatory shot by February 2021.
But Arum, who co-promotes Fury, recently made it clear that Whyte would simply have to wait a little longer.
If Fury defeats Wilder, then Arum wants to match him in a huge unification against IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO champion Anthony Joshua – which would be a potential two-fight series in 2021.
If Arum and Fury move forward to make the Joshua fight, and Whyte continues to press the issue of getting his mandatory shot, then the veteran promoter could see the sanctioning body issue a ruling where Fury is given the status of ‘franchise champion’ and Whyte is upgraded to full champion.
“Fury and Joshua… whether they fight once or twice or whatever, Dillian Whyte can make a big name for himself fighting in the interim and then when he fights the winner he can make a huge payday. There has to be a lot of sense involved… his management can’t push for something that makes no sense in my opinion,” Arum told PepTalkUK.
“The reaction to a lot of these mandatories, what the WBC did was to make a guy like Canelo ‘franchise champion.’ They made Lomachenko ‘franchise champion’ and that allowed Devin Haney to fight for the WBC title and not to bother Lomachenko with a mandatory fight. Particularly [these champions were elevated] while these guys were fighting the top, top person around.
“Nobody is asking the WBC to make Tyson Fury a ‘franchise champion,’ but if Dillian Whyte pursues this idea of fighting Tyson Fury before he fought Wilder again and then Joshua, that would be the way I think the WBC would go. [If the WBC does that], the public is not stupid, the public knows who’s the champion. Particularly now when we’ve had this [pandemic] period where we haven’t had fights, I think we’ve gotta do the right thing – and the right thing is to do the fights that really appeal to the public.”
‘Franchise champion’ is a controversial new status from the WBC. A ‘franchise champion’ has no mandatory obligations and he is unable to lose his status, even in defeat or moving up to a new weight division.