Dillian Whyte should still receive a "monstrous fight" with Tyson Fury, says promoter Eddie Hearn who remains determined to deliver a "long overdue" WBC title shot.
WBC champion Fury and unified title holder Joshua have agreed financial terms in principle on a two-fight deal in 2021, but Hearn has indicated that Whyte's mandatory challenge for the WBC belt will come first.
Fury's American promoter Bob Arum suggested that his fighter could even assume the status of 'Franchise' champion in a bid to avoid further title commitments following a third fight with Deontay Wilder, although Hearn intends to reach a resolution that would finally end Whyte's lengthy wait for a WBC title clash.
"From our point of view, Dillian Whyte is mandatory, and that mandatory is supposed to land before the end of February 2021," Hearn told Sky Sports News.
"We want Dillian Whyte to fight Tyson Fury as soon as possible, and if Wilder is not available for any reason then Dillian should step in and take that.
"I saw Bob Arum's comments about Tyson Fury becoming the 'Franchise' champion. We'd much rather that this was not for a 'Franchise' belt, this was for a WBC world title, and we want Dillian Whyte to get his shot at the world title.
"The point of Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua and the teams agreeing to the structure of that deal - that deal can happen, that first fight can happen at the end of next summer. It will be 2021, but there is a big period of time where Dillian Whyte should be getting his shot at the world title and that's important to us.
"You have to fight for the mandatory positions for the people that have earned the right to be there. There is no-one that has fought for that right more than Dillian Whyte to get his opportunity at a world title.
"Some guys land in a mandatory position, and you don't really think that they're a viable challenger. Dillian Whyte is exactly the opposite. We can't just look at mandatories and say 'No, no, wait, wait,' but they've got to be treated on different merits, but of course everybody wants to see the undisputed fight, and also it's very important to us, and I think the British public, and for boxing that Dillian Whyte gets his long overdue shot at the world heavyweight title."
Hearn was also quick to dismiss Arum's comparison of Whyte to former Fury opponent Tom Schwarz, with the Matchroom Boxing boss pointing out the Brixton man's list of WBC sanctioned wins over Joseph Parker, Derek Chisora and Oscar Rivas, along with a spell of over 950 days as the No 1 ranked contender.
Dillian Whyte should be and is in everybody's conversation.
"I don't think that sometimes he (Arum) recognises what's going on around the world," said Hearn.
"His world is America, and we have to understand that there's another world out there, and that world of the heavyweight landscape, you're talking about the top fighters in heavyweight boxing. Dillian Whyte should be and is in everybody's conversation.
"This is a guy who for years has boxed WBC sanctioned events, boxed eliminators, boxed final eliminators, boxed interim world title fights. He has been No 1 for god knows how many days now, I've lost count. He deserves his shot.
"To say that Dillian Whyte carries the same commercial value as Tom Schwarz is ridiculous. This is a major international fight. Tyson Fury against Dillian Whyte is a monstrous fight, a monstrous fight, and it's very disrespectful to say that it's in the same league as Tom Schwarz, because Tom Schwarz wasn't even ranked. I think he squeaked into the WBO somehow, but the reality is - Dillian Whyte is long overdue, and we must make sure we do what we can to make sure he gets that shot."
Whyte defends his WBC 'interim' title and will risk his mandatory status against Russia's former world champion Alexander Povetkin in a rescheduled fight this summer.