The recently announced heavyweight clash between Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker has suffered an early setback after being formally announced on Thursday.
Soon after Whyte v Parker was made official, Sky Sports sent out confirmation the bout would be televised on Sky Sports Box Office and Twitter went into meltdown.
A mass of fans expressed their disappointment of the idea of Whyte and Parker fighting without even eliminator status – let alone a world title on the line, on the paid platform of choice for Matchroom Boxing.
It’s a bold move by promoter Eddie Hearn, who will now need to send in the cavalry in order to keep a large portion of his fanbase happy.
The likes of Kell Brook, Anthony Crolla, Callum Johnson, Ricky Burns and a rematch between Luke Campbell and Yvan Mendy could all be considered for the bill, whilst all the young Olympic prospects signed by Hearn over the past twelve to eighteen months may well be drafted in.
Whyte v Parker on PPV would have been unthinkable just twelve months ago, and it seems association with Anthony Joshua has led the fighters to this point.
Joshua defeated Whyte in 2015 and is continually linked to a rematch despite what was a crushing knockout, whilst Parker became the first man to go the distance with ‘AJ’ in March of this year.
It was a decent performance by Parker, although nobody really called for a second helping during the aftermath, leaving questions to be asked as to how either can be considered for Joshua without winning a final eliminator first.
Whyte turned down both Kubrat Pulev and Luis Ortiz, stipulated fights with the IBF and WBC, which could have carved an unquestionable path to Joshua or even Deontay Wilder for the winner.
Without that status for the fight, it could become hard for Hearn to justify how either would get a shot at Joshua before any other world-rated contender who wins an official eliminator in the meantime.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay