By STEVE DOUGLAS
Heavyweight boxing’s landscape should become a lot clearer this week when the promoters of Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte conclude drawn-out negotiations over a world title fight that could yet bring Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk into the conversation.
The Fury and Whyte camps have been unable to come to an agreement over the split of fight revenue for their proposed fight for the WBC and Ring Magazine belts, currently held by the unbeaten Fury.
The WBC granted an extension of their negotiation period until Wednesday, when purse bids will take place if no agreement has been reached. That would mean rival promoters can bid to stage the fight.
Fury’s UK promoter, Frank Warren, has said the champion will be fighting on March 26 — reportedly back in Britain after Fury’s last five fights took place in the United States — and deserves at least an 80-20 split if he takes on Whyte, the mandatory challenger who has never fought for a world title.
Whyte’s promoter is Eddie Hearn, who also looks after Joshua — the former WBA, WBO and IBF champion who lost his belts to Usyk in September and has since activated a contractual clause for a rematch against the Ukrainian.
No date for their second fight has been set yet and adding intrigue Monday was a report in British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, saying Joshua might be willing to step aside — for what the paper says could be 15 million pounds ($20 million) — to allow Usyk to fight Fury to unify the titles. Joshua might then face the winner.
Joshua responded by saying Monday in a video published by DAZN that he has yet to sign a contract to that effect.
“I’m the man in control of my destiny,” Joshua said. “I’m the man that handles my business. I’m a smart individual and I make calculated decisions every step of the way.”
It is getting increasingly difficult for all the pieces to fall into place.
“It is boxing, it is messy and there is a lot of money involved,” Hearn said last week, “so it is getting even messier.”
Bob Arum, Fury’s promoter in the U.S., has described the situation as “total chaos” and told British radio station talkSPORT he had “absolutely no idea” who Fury will be fighting next.
Hearn said he will meet with Joshua on Tuesday to go through his options. That could yet involve Joshua being a kingmaker for a deal that brings the two titleholders together.