Nigerian-born world heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Olaseni Oluwafemi Joshua has been hit with a fresh cloud of doubt in his target of entering the ring for a much-expected megabucks unification fight with fellow-Briton, Tyson Fury, as the opponent has been saddled with a mandatory fight to hold later this year.
The initial blockade to the highly-desired clash of both Brits had been Joshua’s mandatory title defence against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev and Fury having to take on former champ, Deontay Wilder, but now ‘The Gypsy King’ has been ordered by World Boxing Council (WBC) to also fight another British pugilist, Dillian Whyte.
This means Joshua will have to wait for Fury to faced Whyte next if he beats Wilder in the third chapter of their trilogy challenge in December, as megasportsarena.com gathered that the winner of that contest has been ordered by the WBC to take on Whyte, who is preparing for a fight Alexander Povetkin later this month.
Fury, who defeated Wilder in February of this year and is set for another high-profile bout with the American ex-champion also in December, has already signed an all-British two-fight package with Joshua in 2021, but the Nigerian-born two-time three-belt holder’s promoter, Eddie Hearn has admitted that the first of that double-deal is bound to be pushed back further into 2021.
This is sequel to confirmation by WBC that the winner of the second rematch between Fury and Wilder will face a mandatory defence against Whyte, who takes on Russia’s Povetkin this month in England, such that the mouth-watering all-British clash in 2021 is set to be replaced by a less-tantalizing clash of two other Brits early same year.
WBC president, Mauricio Sulaiman told Sky Sports: “The WBC has reviewed every single weight category, considering the pandemic. We have had the flexibility with our champions and the WBC has approved Fury to fight by the end of the year, if it’s announced that it might be December 19, and the winner must make the mandatory defence early next year.
“When the (Fury-Wilder) fight takes place, we will order the pre-negotiations, so it’s a process that the promoters negotiate the fight and a date. It makes no sense to speculate on a date, but it’s going to be early next year when they are able to negotiate, or it goes to a purse bid.”
However, Hearn is staying upbeat, as he pointed out that a Fury-Whyte contest could mean several all-British bouts for ‘The Gypsy King’ in 2021, after the WBC champion earlier agreed a two-fight deal with Watford-born Joshua.
While the date for Fury’s mandatory title defence should he beat Wilder again has not been confirmed, Hearn hinted that February or March 2021 is a realistic estimate, depending on what appeals to Whyte, though it would eventually mean pushing back Joshua’s expected bout.
Hearn concluded: “Dillian takes priority. [He] has to have that fight by the end of February, and if it goes into March, it goes into March. Joshua is boxing in December. He won’t be ready to box again until June-July. Everybody acknowledges that’s the mandatory and that it’s next.”