As the world continues to wait for an undisputed heavyweight unification fight, Tyson Fury is still trying to figure out who his next fight will be against. Top Rank’s Bob Arum has shed some light on that situation, which could make things even more complicated than it already is.
Arum spoke with iFL TV regarding the heavyweight title picture. Fury, the WBC and The Ring Heavyweight Champion, has been tied to interim WBC Heavyweight Champion Dillian Whyte. The idea is that they would compete to determine the undisputed WBC champion. Whyte, who recently sued the WBC over a title opportunity, is demanding what he believes is a fair share of the purse money that goes with a fight of this magnitude.
An issue that Arum has with Whyte is the asking price; $10 million to fight Fury. Arum is now interested in moving on from Whyte, and has two fighters in mind for Fury: former champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and contender Robert Helenius.
“Those are the two principal guys I’ll be talking to Frank (Warren) and Tyson later this week and we’ll figure out what we’ll be doing,” said Arum, via Boxing Scene. “It’s unfortunate in a sense because Dillian Whyte can have that fight. There is no question we would do that fight. In our view, they are very greedy in what they are asking for.
“If he thinks he can win, stop crapping around with arbitration and looking to push for the biggest dollar. Tyson is the big attraction. Nobody in the United States has heard of Dillian Whyte, really. We’ve offered him a deal of 25% with a guarantee [of $5 to $5.5 million] and let them negotiate off that. Again, he says he wants [to start at] over $10 million, which is absolutely out of the question. I don’t know what he’s talking about … they are just being greedy.”
Fury is coming off of a knockout win over Deontay Wilder in October. He retained the titles he took from Wilder back in February 2020. The lineal champion, Fury is now 2-0-1 against Wilder. Whyte a former British Heavyweight Champion, won the interim WBC Heavyweight Title in 2019 against Oscar Rivas. He lost the belt back in August 2020 in dramatic fashion against Alexander Povetkin. “The Body Snatcher” won the title back in March via TKO in what would be Povetkin’s final fight of his career.
According to the WBC rulebook, the WBC states that an interim champion can receive up to 45% of a purse split. Arum also mentioned the idea of Fury only defending The Ring belt, with the WBC Title in limbo until a potential undisputed unification fight. Currently, Oleksandr Usyk holds the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight Titles, beating Anthony Joshua back in September for the belts. He is scheduled to fight Joshua in a rematch sometime in early 2022.
Both Ruiz and Helenius have deals with Premier Boxing Champions.
Ruiz made his professional debut in 2009. In 2016 he unsuccessfully challenged for the WBC Heavyweight Title, losing to Joseph Parker. Following a three-fight win streak, Ruiz was involved in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, beating Joshua inside Madison Square Garden to win the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight Titles. Not staying focused on the task at hand, he quickly lost the titles in a Joshua rematch in December 2019.
A much more motivated Ruiz is now teaming with Eddy Reynoso, trainer of Canelo Alvarez. He last fought in May, beating Chris Arreola via unanimous decision.
Helenius made his pro debut in 2008. A silver medalist in the European Championships, “The Nordic Nightmare” is 6-2 in his last eight fights. The 37-year-old is coming off of back-to-back wins against Adam Kownacki, seemingly becoming a contender for the WBA title.
Outside of those fights, Arum is not afraid to try and wait it all out and have Fury face the winner of Usyk-Joshua II. That would mean avoiding Whyte altogether and potentially without the WBC Title.
“We’ve offered them (Whyte’s team) a big and good deal – a purse far more than they’ve ever gotten in any fight, and that hasn’t moved them,” Arum went on to say. “We talked to WBC head Mauricio Sulaiman and he said, ‘look, it breaks my heart. Go find another opponent. Fight without the WBC title. We are not going to take it away from you. Go about your business.’”
The current plan is for Fury to fight at least three times in 2022.