Whyte-Povetkin and Taylor-Persoon 2 on August 22, live on Sky Sports Box Office
Wednesday 12 August 2020 18:43, UK
Dillian Whyte's mandatory right to a WBC title shot against Tyson Fury can't be "dismissed" and the fight "has to happen" in 2021, says promoter Eddie Hearn.
Fury's next defence against Deontay Wilder could be pushed back beyond the targeted date of December according to his US-based promoter Bob Arum, while his UK-based promoter Frank Warren suggested he would look to face Anthony Joshua in his first outing of 2021 - both of which are suggestions that leave no time to face Whyte.
But Whyte's wait to challenge for a world title of more than 1000 days as the WBC's No 1 contender must end in February 2021, the date set by the governing body, Hearn has said.
"The WBC have made it clear that the fight has to happen, subject to Whyte beating Alexander Povetkin next week," his promoter Hearn told Sky Sports.
Whyte will face the dangerous Russian Povetkin at Fight Camp on August 22, live on Sky Sports Box Office, with his right to challenge Fury at stake.
"It doesn't appear to me that there is a way around [Fury vs Whyte] not happening," Hearn said. "Other than a 'step-aside' to Whyte, which I can tell you has absolutely no chance of happening. Or Fury vacating the WBC title which we don't want to happen either.
"You can't just dismiss Whyte and say: 'No, that's not happening'.
"You can avoid that fight, duck that fight. But it comes with consequence, which in this case would be to [vacate or be stripped of] the world championship. Nobody wants that to happen.
"If Fury [vacates] his belt he goes into the Joshua fight as a non-belt holder and we don't really want that."
The undefeated Fury is expected to meet Wilder in a trilogy bout and has agreed financial terms to two fights with Joshua in 2021 with every heavyweight championship belt at stake.
But those plans shouldn't affect his obligation to defend the WBC title against Whyte, Hearn has insisted, despite dissenting voices from Fury's camp.
Hearn said: "They are contradicting themselves because they say: 'Fury is definitely fighting this year whether Wilder is ready or not'.
"No problem, he can fight Whyte.
"He's not going to fight Joshua this year. If he is going to fight this year, and he doesn't fight Wilder, then fight Whyte!
"It's ridiculous of them to just dismiss Whyte. He's the mandatory challenger. If he beats Povetkin he will have been actually ordered to fight Fury or [Fury] will have to vacate.
"They have to take it seriously. We take it seriously.
"I see some comments saying: 'How can Eddie Hearn stand in the way of the undisputed fight?'
"[Joshua vs Fury] isn't happening until next summer. There is plenty of time [for Fury] to fight Whyte.
"And of course if the [Fury vs Wilder] fight doesn't happen, you should absolutely face your mandatory challenger.
"But it all comes down to next week. Povetkin will say: 'Keep looking past me, keep writing me off, because I'll be the one to be mandatory to Fury'."
Joshua's part in the evolving picture depends on him successfully defending the IBF, WBA and WBO titles against Kubrat Pulev, targeted for December.
"Joshua is ready to go, subject to beating Pulev, to fight Fury in the middle and at the end of next year," Hearn said. "Two fights. No problems.
"What [Fury] does in the meantime is out of our control. We've got to focus on what we are doing, which is Pulev then the undisputed championship.
"We still have an issue with Oleksandr Usyk [who is Joshua's WBO mandatory challenger]. We'll see if Derek Chisora can stick one on his chin, and get rid of that problem!
"Undisputed is the absolute aim but it may not be possible."