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Tyson Fury ordered to fight Dillian Whyte after unification bout appears to fall through

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  • Dillian Whyte
    British boxer
  • Tyson Fury
    Tyson Fury
    British boxer
  • Deontay Wilder
    Deontay Wilder
    American boxer
  • Oleksandr Usyk
    Ukrainian boxer

After a thrilling trilogy with Deontay Wilder left him as the lineal and WBC heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury knows his next likely opponent. 

It won't be WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk. 

After hopes of a unification bout appeared to fall through, the WBC ordered Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) on Tuesday to a mandatory title defense against British interim heavyweight champion Dillian Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs). Whyte defeated Alexander Povetkin in a May rematch to reclaim the interim title, leading to his status as the mandatory challenger for the WBC heavyweight crown. 

Whyte was previously the WBC's No. 1 ranked contender for more than three years, but has never had a title shot. He addressed a potential bout with Fury in a November interview with Sky Sports.

"Fury has been mandated to fight me twice. ... He just keeps making excuses," Whyte said, per AFP. "Hopefully now he's got no choice. What's he going to do? Throw the belt in the bin and run away from more money than he got to fight Wilder?"

Tyson Fury with his belt during a press conference after winning the fight against Deontay Wilder REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Tyson Fury has been ordered to defend his title against Dillian Whyte. (Reuters/Steve Marcus)

Fury, of course, could defy the order, but it would likely lead to being stripped of his belt. A date and location for the fight would be determined by the negotiations ordered by the WBC. A unification fight that Fury prefers remains on hold. 

The WBC granted Fury 30 days to negotiate a fight against Usyk for the title of undisputed heavyweight champion of the world following his 11th-round knockout of Wilder on Oct. 9. But Anthony Joshua triggered his rematch clause to face Usyk again after losing the WBO, WBA and IBF belts to the Ukrainian in an upset decision in September. 

Joshua was reportedly willing to step aside to allow for a Usyk-Fury unification bout for a price of more than $50 million. The exorbitant number appeared to be a non-starter, and a unification bout will likely have to wait.