Tyson Fury has been ordered to defend his world heavyweight title against mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte with talks now ongoing.
The WBC on Tuesday ordered Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) to begin a negotiating period to defend his belt against Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs), with the fight expected to take place in late February or early March, probably under the roof of Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
“The WBC hereby orders the start of the free negotiations period pursuant to the WBC Rules & Regulations for the mandatory bout between WBC World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury and Mandatory Challenger and WBC Interim World Champion Dillian Whyte.
Fury last defeated Deontay Wilder with an 11th-round KO in a classic heavyweight classic battle on Oct. 9.
“The Gypsy King” will now have the option to face Whyte or otherwise abandon the WBC belt.
Following Fury’s victory over Wilder, he was given 30 days to make a deal and fight against WBA, IBF, and WBO Champion Oleksandr Usyk. But Anthony Joshua, who lost his championship belts to Usyk, activated his rematch clause for a rematch.
According to ESPN, both parties discussed step-aside-money for Joshua to bypass his rematch so that Fury can potentially fight Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
The 33-year-old Whyte earned the WBC interim title during a fight against Alexander Povetkin, whom he knocked out in the fourth round. Whyte was scheduled to face Otto Wallin in late October but withdrew from the contest earlier in the week due to a shoulder injury.
If both Fury and Whyte come to an agreement and schedule a fight within the next 30 days, Fury will get the chance to keep the WBC belt, while Whyte will have his first opportunity at a world title.