Staged on Thursday, the promoters of both fighters, Matchroom and Sauerland, were expected to be the only bidders.
Epic Sports then decided to enter the fray and completely gazumped both parties to secure the right to stage the final battle for a mandatory shot at current king Anthony Joshua.
Tucker exclusively told World Boxing News: “A purse bid procedure was held in these offices today (Thursday) to determine who will promote the IBF Heavyweight Eliminator fight for #1, when, where, and for how much.
“There were three bidders, Epic Sports & Entertainment, Matchroom Sport, and Sauerland Event GmbH.
“Epic Sports bid $1,500,111.00 Matchroom bid $ 831,111.00 and Sauerland bid $ 801,305.00. The purse bid split will be 75% to Pulev and 25% to Whyte.
“Be advised that Epic Sports submitted 10% of the bid amount at the purse bid today for a total of $ 150,011.10.
“Epic Sports must further deliver a check representing an additional $150,011.10 of the total bid within 5 business days following the bid.
“The executed contracts for this bout must be submitted to this office within 15 days of the purse bid procedure or no later than June 8, 2018.
“The fight must take place within 90 days or by August 24, 2018,” he added.
It’s a blow for Hearn, who was hoping to take the fight to The O2 Arena, potentially showcasing Whyte on Sky Sports Pay-Pey-View for the first time.
Pulev v Whyte is now more likely to occur on US soil, possibly in New York, unless one of the two participants decides against going through with the fight.
Whyte is in line to make almost double what would have been in his percentage (around £207,500 becomes $375,000) had Matchroom claimed the rights. However, the nature of Epic’s victory doesn’t necessarily mean the fight will go ahead should Eddie Hearn or the Sauerland’s decide to go a different route.