Tyson Fury has his sights set on his potential next opponent.
The WBC on Tuesday ordered Fury to defend his heavyweight championship against Dillian Whyte, who was the organization’s No. 1 contender for more than 1,000 days without a title shot.
Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) has one fight remaining on his deal with Top Rank while Whyte competes under the Matchroom banner on a fight-by-fight basis. If no deal is struck between the sides, a purse bid will be ordered where the rights to the heavyweight tilt will be auctioned off.
“I’m due an easy fight anyway, [Whyte] would have been ideal really,” Fury told iFL TV last month. “Heavy bag on legs is what I’m after to be honest. He’d have been the ideal candidate.”
Fury added: “When they make him a mandatory challenger, I will defend my belt and butcher him, no problem.”
The Gypsy King said he will “100 percent” fight in February or March. If the fight indeed happens, it’s being eyed for springtime in the U.K. Fury, a native of Manchester, England, hasn’t competed in the U.K. since a comeback fight in Aug. 2018.
Since then, Fury has risen to the top of the sport with a trio of fights against Deontay Wilder that culminated in October with an 11th-round KO in a heavyweight classic.
Four of those five bouts were staged in Las Vegas with the other in Los Angeles, lifting Fury to stardom in the United States. He’s ESPN’s No. 1 heavyweight and No. 5 pound-for-pound boxer.
Still, there’s no guarantee he’ll fight Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) next. Behind the scenes, talks have been held regarding step-aside money for Anthony Joshua to bypass his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk so that Fury can fight Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
Now that the fight has been ordered, though, it’s likely Fury would be stripped if he doesn’t face Whyte next.
The 33-year-old Londoner averaged his KO loss to Alexander Povetkin with a fourth-round stoppage win in March. Whyte was set to fight Otto Wallin in October but withdrew the week of the bout with a shoulder injury claim.
Whyte, ESPN’s No. 6 heavyweight also owns victories over Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora, along with a TKO setback to Joshua in 2015.
“The coward [Fury] really doesn’t want any smoke,” Whyte posted on Instagram last month. “I can’t wait for my moment, it will be a special night.”