Promoter Eddie Hearn says WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury still needs to beat the other top heavyweights in the division to be considered the #1 fighter in the weight class.
It’s pointless for Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) to be viewed as the top guy in the division when he’s ONLY beaten one fighter, Deontay Wilder, in the last three years.
Hearn wants to see Fury defend against his WBC mandatory Dillian Whyte next, and then beat the Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk 2 rematch and beat Joe Joyce and Filip Hrgovic.
In other words, Fury has got a long haul in front of him before he can be considered as the #1 heavyweight on the planet, as far as Hearn is concerned.
For the time being, Hearn’s immediate concern is to get his fighter Dillian Whyte a title shot against Fury as his mandatory.
Fury’s promoters at Top Rank haven’t said whether he’ll defend against the Whyte vs. Otto Wallin winner fight next.
If they choose not to let Fury fight Whyte or Wallin, there are several ways that they can maneuver him around those fighters. The most obvious move is for Fury to ask the World Boxing Council to be elevated to Franchise champion.
If the WBC changes Fury’s status to Franchise champion, there is nothing on earth that Hearn can do to force him to defend against Whyte.
Fury vs. Whyte = massive fight
“There’s a big situation unfolding behind the scenes with Dillian Whyte’s lawyers and the WBC, and they’re working to get justice to install him as the mandatory to Tyson Fury, and he will be. I’m almost certain,” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV.
“A big fight coming up against Otto Wallin [on October 30th] at the O2, and after he beats Otto Wallin, which I believe he will, and we will move forward to make that fight with Tyson Fury, and I don’t see.
“The WBC made it quite clear; they’ve [Fury] got 30 days to negotiate the Usyk fight. They CAN’T negotiate the Usyk fight because Usyk is in a binding contract with Anthony Joshua for the rematch, and there’s no money in the world right now to convince Anthony Joshua not to fight Oleksandr Usyk.
“So, let’s just move ahead and make the Dillian Whyte fight. I saw on social media where he said, ‘Fury has got to fight Usyk or retire.’ But he’s [Fury] only beaten one guy [Deontay Wilder] in the last three years.
“Maybe he beats everybody and go down as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. But to do that, you have to beat the fighters of your era.
“You can’t just fight one guy. So he [Fury] needs to fight AJ, he needs to fight Dillian, and he needs to fight [Filip] Hrgovic coming through the ranks, [Joe] Joyce, or whoever is there. He needs to stay active.
“He’s always talked about the activity being important. Andre Ward is saying, ‘No, wait.’ Wait another year? So you have three fights in three years. Is it just me that thinks Tyson Fury vs. Dillian Whyte is a massive fight?
“That does a million, and a half pay-per-view buys in the UK. It sells out a stadium in the UK. It’s a massive fight, and it’s his [Fury] mandatory. So, you’re the [WBC] champion; take care of your mandatory. By the way, do it in a fight [against Whyte] that’s going to make you a fortune,” said Hearn.
There’s no question that a fight between Fury and Whyte will be massive in the UK and bring in a ton of PPV buys and sell out a stadium.
If you’re Fury and his team, why would you want to take the risk of fighting Whyte when you’ve got a massive money clash ahead against the winner of the Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk rematch?
There’s too much money for Fury to make fighting the Joshua-Usyk 2 winner for him to mess that up by taking a risky match against Whyte.
With all the punishment Fury took to the head in his fight last Saturday night against Deontay Wilder, who knows what he can take at this point? Fury’s punch resistance may have gone down after that fight with Deontay, leaving him a shell of his former self.
If so, Whyte might destroy Fury and wreck his chances for a $100 million payday against the Joshua vs. Usyk II rematch winner.
Hearn believes Whyte beats Fury
“So, I don’t see the big deal with suggesting that fight because outside of AJ and Oleksandr Usyk, it’s the biggest fight out there,” Hearn continued.
“By the way, if you think Usyk is going to fight AJ, then fight Dillian Whyte and then fight Usyk after.
“I believe Dillian Whyte can beat Tyson Fury, and I know AJ can beat Usyk. So, if you’re so confident, get those out of the way and then go do the undisputed fight. I just think that’s a massive fight, and I know there’s a lot of people that want to see Fury against Whyte.
“That’s going to be an issue dealt with by Dillian Whyte’s lawyers,” said Hearn when asked if Fury will be made Franchise champion or does the WBC makes some kind of ruling that allows Tyson to move away from fighting Dillian.
“When you talk about doesn’t like being dictated and being told what to do, that’s boxing, that’s the governing bodies,” said Hearn about Fury not liking the WBC to tell him to defend against Whyte.
“Do you really think I would have chosen Oleksandr Usyk as AJ’s mandatory? Come on. He [Joshua] wants to defend his belts. So, therefore, he stepped up and fought his mandatory [Usyk].
“When he was fighting Alexander Povetkin, three or four years ago, whenever it was, he wasn’t a guy that you handpick and say, ‘AJ, fight him.’ He was the mandatory. Pulev took care of the mandatory. That’s what you do as a champion.
“If you don’t want to be champion, you don’t have the belt. That’s fine, but you do have obligations as the champion to fight your mandatory. By the way, when it’s a mega-fight, why not? I think Tyson Fury believes he beats Dillian Whyte ten times out of ten.
“Have a look at the fight, have a look at the money. Fury says he’s the #1 heavyweight, and on paper, it’s hard to argue right now. But in that case, he can go through all of those fighters and become a great.
“He [Fury] may become a Lennox Lewis or Joe Louis or Muhammad Ali of that generation. But to do it, you can’t just beat one guy in three years. You’ve got to fight the other contenders, talent and champions.
“So, I think he’d be up for that; he’s a fighting man,” said Hearn about Fury. “Hopefully, he takes the challenge with Dillian Whyte.
Hearn is getting ahead of himself by continually saying that Fury must fight Whyte next. If Whyte loses to Otto Wallin on October 30th, does he not lose his WBC mandatory position along with his interim title?
It would be silly for Whyte to be allowed to keep his mandatory position with the WBC if he gets beaten by Wallin, and it would be a big joke if that were to happen.
Right now, it’s premature to say anything about Whyte challenging Fury because his future is murky right now with his tough fight ahead of him against Wallin on October 30th.
If you assume that Wallin does beat Wallin, he could give Fury a lot of problems in early 2022, provided he doesn’t sustain too much physical damage from his clash with Otto on October 30th.
Whyte looked like he’d gone through the grinder after his fight with the 6’7” Mariusz Wach in 2019. He was all beaten up looking and talking a day after that fight slowly.
If the 40-year-old Wach could do that to Whyte, what do you think Wallin would do to him? The chances are that by the time Whyte does beat Wallin, he’s going to be badly depleted and won’t offer much resistance to Fury next year.
Fury must beat the top heavyweights to be #1
“I think on paper; it’s hard to argue that,” said Hearn when asked if he sees Fury as the #1 heavyweight in the division right now. “I think Anthony Joshua is the best heavyweight in the world, and I think he beats Tyson Fury.
“But right now, when you look at what’s happened in the last couple of weeks when you look at everything on paper, Fury is arguably, and it’s hard to argue that he’s not. But he’s beaten one guy in the last two and a half, three years.
“I’ve seen him [Fury] go up a few pounds in the pound-for-pound ranking after just beating a guy [Wilder] that he beat in six rounds [correction: seven] in his last fight.
“I just think that until he fights the other challengers in the division, how good is he? He’s really good, we know that, but to be that standout pound-for-pound guy, you’ve got to beat the contenders and the champions of the division, and he’s had one defense of his world heavyweight title.
“It was a great win [over Wilder]. I can’t take [anything away from it]. It was a great win; he showed great heart, so exciting, he’s a character, brilliant.
“I’m not disputing that, but I feel to elevate up the pound-for-pound ranking by beating a guy that you already knocked out in six rounds in your last fight. Let’s see him [Fury] fight the other great dangers in the division,” said Hearn.
Eddie brings up a good point about Fury still needing to beat the other top heavyweights before he can truly call himself the #1 fighter in the division.
It’s not enough to just beat Deontay for Fury to be the top dog in the weight class, and he must defeat the other top four or five heavyweights for him to be indeed called the #1 fighter.
Fury must beat these fighters to be the #1 heavyweight in this writer’s view:
- Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua winner
- Frank Sanchez
- Joe Joyce
- Dillian Whyte vs. Otto Wallin winner
- Jared Anderson
- Filip Hrgovic
- Daniel Dubois
- Andy Ruiz Jr.
- Robert Helenius