Dillian Whyte set for 16-month wait for WBC heavyweight title fight - Eddie Hearn labels it 'ridiculous'
Last Updated: 25/10/19 6:14am
Dillian Whyte's 16-month wait for a WBC heavyweight title shot has been criticised as "frustrating" and "ridiculous" by promoter Eddie Hearn.
Whyte became mandatory challenger to Deontay Wilder's championship by beating Oscar Rivas but that status was suspended by the WBC when an alleged "adverse finding" in a UK Anti-Doping test put him in limbo. He has said that he beat Rivas "fair and square".
A WBC statement on Wednesday night read: "If his situation is resolved, he will become the mandatory challenger for February, 2021."
Hearn reacted to Sky Sports: "Whyte deserves his shot at the world title. The UKAD situation is frustrating, we're still waiting for them to issue a statement.
"Whyte is cleared to box today, tomorrow or December. But we want clarification from the body who are supposed to be in charge. We want transparency.
"Whyte will be back in the ring soon and I believe he deserves a shot at the world championship."
The 16-month wait now imposed on Whyte will give reigning champion Wilder the chance to fight Luis Ortiz on November 23, live on Sky Sports, then face Tyson Fury next year. Wilder has already beaten Ortiz and drew with Fury.
"It's frustrating because the original resolution had Whyte as mandatory to the winner of Wilder vs Fury," Hearn said.
"Whyte is still mandatory but it's been put back to 2021. It's ridiculous.
"The WBC will probably make Wilder the 'franchise' champion, anyway."
Vasiliy Lomachenko, this week, became the second WBC champion to be granted 'franchise' status after Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez. Lomachenko's ruling means Devin Haney, who is promoted by Hearn and was his mandatory challenger, is now recognised as the world champion.
Whyte wants to avoid a similar situation where his eventual title challenge comes for a different variation of Wilder's belt, and not against the long-reigning champion himself.
"Devin Haney is in a similar situation [to Whyte] - he was crowned world champion because Lomachenko is now 'franchise' champion. We don't want to be crowned world champion, we want to fight Lomachenko, that's what Haney has been dreaming to do.
"How do you chase greatness if, when you get there, you can't touch it?"
It could also have a knock-on effect for the dream undisputed heavyweight championship fight between Anthony Joshua and Wilder, Hearn explained.
Joshua, who must first regain the IBF, WBA and WBO belts from Andy Ruiz Jr on December 7 live on Sky Sports Box Office, may not receive a chance to contest every major title against Wilder if his rival is made 'franchise' champion.
"The crème da la crème is to have undisputed fights but that's being taken away from the sport. You are protecting key champions. This is all wrong," Hearn said.
Wilder has said about his next fight: "When I fought Ortiz, not only did he have the pedigree, but also he had the classification of being the boogeyman of the division.
"I agree with those who say that Luis Ortiz was my toughest fight to date. No one wanted to fight him and they still don't.
"In the rematch, there's more confidence and more motivation to do what I have to do. I've already seen the style before.
"It's going to make it more fun. I can't wait to see how he tries to handle me when I'm at my best."
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