Top Rank and Queensbury Promotions jointly bid a record $40 million to win the right to promote a WBC heavyweight title fight between champion Tyson Fury and interim champion Dillian Whyte.
Top Rank president Todd duBoef told Yahoo Sports the fight would be April 23 in the United Kingdom. Frank Warren of Queensbury Promotion said a venue hasn’t been selected, but London’s Wembley Stadium would make the most sense given it holds more than 80,000 people.
Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport was the only other bidder, putting in an offer of $32 million.
Per the WBC regulations, as champion, Fury will get 80 percent of the bid, meaning his purse will be $32 million. Whyte will get 20 percent, or $8 million.
“We’re delighted to have won the purse bid and this is a massive fight over here [in the U.K.],” Warren told Yahoo Sports. “This is a fight people over here really want to see. It’s been three years since Tyson fought over here and it’s also an opportunity to keep Tyson active. With COVID and the arbitration [with Deontay Wilder], he’s only fought once in a couple of years.
“Now, we can get him back in the ring on a more regular basis, and so it’s great from that standpoint, as well.”
The WBC delayed the purse bid until Friday to give the sides time to negotiate a settlement with White and former champion Anthony Joshua that would have permitted Fury to fight IBF-WBA-WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk next.
Usyk won the titles from Joshua in September, but Joshua had a rematch clause. The WBC had ordered Fury to fight Whyte, so Fury and his team would have needed to buy Joshua out of that position.
But Joshua didn’t accept a reported £15 million offer, and there are few in boxing with the financial resources to pay more than that to someone to not fight. That made it most likely the purse bid will go forward on Friday, and it did at the WBC’s office in Mexico City.
DuBoef said Top Rank and Queensbury are interested in the biggest fights for Fury and that if he defeats Whyte, they’d be interested in a bout against the Usyk-Joshua winner or UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, if that becomes a possibility.
Ngannou and Fury have gone back and forth online.
“It’s frustrating when there are things the public wants to see that we can’t deliver, so we’re in a position now that we can make the biggest fight for Tyson if he wins this, whether that’s A.J., Usyk, whether Ngannou becomes a possibility, [Deontay] Wilder, whoever,” duBoef said. “We just will look to put the biggest fight on that we can [if Fury wins].”
Warren said if Usyk beats Joshua again in the rematch, he would be the easiest to make a fight with, but said if Joshua wins, they’ll get into talks quickly.
A Fury-Joshua fight was signed last year, but an arbitrator’s decision forced Fury to give Wilder a third fight instead. Fury knocked Wilder out in the 11th round of that fight on Oct. 9 in Las Vegas to retain the WBC belt.
Warren, a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, said a Fury-Joshua fight would be one of the biggest ever held.
“But I believe a Fury-Usyk fight would be massive, too,” Warren said.