World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman has moved to clear up the position of current interim heavyweight champion Dillian Whyte once and for all.
The Briton has been patiently awaiting his shot at firstly Deontay Wilder and secondly Tyson Fury since becoming the number one contender in 2017.
A win over Robert Helenius was enough to give Whyte the WBC Silver title and the top spot in the rankings.
Whyte’s promoter and supporters have reminded Sulaiman at every opportunity since, that it’s been 906 days since ‘The Bodysnatcher’ climbed the last rung of the ladder.
But Sulaiman has cleared up the fact that Whyte has not been mandatory since that 2017 date. He’s only held that position for 276 days in total.
Speaking to Johnny Nelson, Richard Poxon and Anthony Crolla on the latest episode of The Black Eye Barber Shop Show, a chance came to finally address the consistent badgering from Brits keen to see Whyte given his shot.
“It’s been tough as some British fans are very aggressive. But that’s the passion of the sport and I respect that,” Sulaiman exclusively told The Black Eye Barber Shop Show.
“It’s great to see the passion and the supporter who fights for his hero. I appreciate them getting anxious and getting upset. But as long as we do the right thing. It’s not easy.
“You cannot please every, single situation because there are very different aspects of it.”
Asked by Poxon if the pressure from UK fans over Whyte got too much, he answered: “We are not in a popularity contest.
“You have to understand that we are not in a situation where we can please every single party. For example, I made a tweet of my daughter, something very positive and nice. But then you got, ‘Give Dillian Whyte the shot!’ – in every single comment,” joked Sulaiman, before being urged by former world champion Nelson put an end to the debate.
Sulaiman then stated: “Dillian Whyte was NEVER mandatory contender until he defeated Oscar Rivas. All that build-up from before when it was 500 days and all those things, has no merit.
“We addressed this with Dillian. With Eddie Hearn (promoter) and with his representatives in the right way.
“We met several times and we offered several alternatives to attend to his wanting to fight for the WBC. And we offered interim titles just to get the thing going.”
On what happens next, the son of former WBC President Jose, concluded: “He was number one contender in the past, but now he’s the mandatory contender.
“He’s the interim champion and he’s ready for February 21st (2021).
“The champion (winner of Fury vs Wilder III) has to fight Dillian Whyte because he is the mandatory contender.
“Dillian was supposed to defend against Povetkin. I don’t know if that will be postponed, or happen later in the year,” he added.
It looks like that initial February 21st, 2021 date will almost certainly have to be pushed back due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Fury and Wilder are not expected to collide again anytime before October this year. This leaves too short a turnaround for Whyte.
The summer of 2021 would be a more likely benchmark. Then, Whyte will finally gets his chance after a frustrating two-year wait.