EXCLUSIVE: Bob Arum talks Tyson Fury vs Whyte, confirms date on hold

Tyson Fury Bob Arum Frank Warren

Mikey Williams

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, Tyson Fury’s co-promoter with Frank Warren, said he is hopeful they can wrap up a deal with WBC interim titlist and mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte ahead of the looming purse.

The purse bid for the fight was initially scheduled for Tuesday, but the WBC postponed it for logistical reasons until Friday at its offices in Mexico City as well as via video conference.

Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs), 33, of England, is entitled to 80 percent of the winning bid. British countryman Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs ), 33, is due to receive 20 percent of the winning bid, but he is in arbitration with the WBC over the split, which is usually much larger for an interim champion and/or a mandatory challenger.

Whether they can make a deal, or the promotional rights to the fight are auctioned off to the highest bidder at a purse bid, Arum said he wants Fury to next face Whyte.

“Let Fury fight Dillian Whyte. Let (Anthony) Joshua fight (unified titleholder Oleksandr) Usyk (in their expected spring rematch) and then the winners can fight,” Arum exclusively told World Boxing News of a fight that would be for the undisputed championship. “We hope to get Tyson on board and then we’ll go ahead and get the match made and (Matchroom Boxing promoter) Eddie (Hearn) will finalize the match with Usyk and Joshua.”

If the fight is made, purse bid or otherwise, Arum said the date penciled in is March 26, although that could be cutting things very close given the magnitude of the fight in the United Kingdom.

Arum added that Warren is holding the date at the 75,000-seat Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. It’s the largest stadium with a roof in the U.K. and has hosted fights before, such as the Joshua-Joseph Parker heavyweight title unification fight in 2018.

Arum said that stadium was on hold because at that time of year weather would prevent the fight from being held outdoors at Wembley Stadium in London, for example.

“Hopefully we’ll get it done,” Arum said. “Dillian Whyte in the U.K. against Tyson Fury is a big, big fight and we’ll do good business and we’ll find a way to get it done.”

Arum said he has wanted Fury to fight again at home in the U.K. after having had his last five bouts in the United States, four in Las Vegas and one in Los Angeles – his first fight with Wilder that resulted in a draw — since 2018.

But Arum took exception to recent comments made by Premier Boxing Champions communications vice president Tim Smith on the PBC’s recent podcast on which he said Fury could not draw fans in the U.S. unless he was facing Wilder. Fury is coming off an 11th-round knockout victory in October against former titleholder Wilder in their third fight, which was the consensus 2021 fight of the year.

“When you look at the heavyweight division, you gotta put (Wilder) in the top four, top five. Just his electrifying ability to knock people out. And he’s a gate attraction. God bless Tyson Fury, but nobody’s coming to see Tyson Fury as a gate attraction unless he’s fighting Deontay Wilder. No one,” Smith said. “Maybe in England if he fights Anthony Joshua, maybe if he fights Usyk over there. But in America, who’s coming to see Tyson Fury fight anyone other than Deontay Wilder?”

Arum’s responded to Smith’s comments.

“What he’s saying is not correct. He can fight in the United States and do a lot of money but it has to be (against) a fighter that’s known to the American public, not just to the some insular boxing people,” Arum said. “In other words there are fighters he could fight in the United States that would do well like an (former unified titlist) Andy Ruiz, for example. But it has to be a fighter people know about in the United States .

“Maybe (Robert) Helenius, because he has had exposure on the Fury-Wilder III card and looked good fighting (and winning a rematch with Adam Kownacki). Also, (former two-time title challenger) Luis Ortiz. A guy like Ortiz would be saleable in the United States .”

Tyson Fury Bob Arum Fury Joshua
Mikey Williams

BOB ARUM on FURY PPV

Arum said having Fury fight next in the U.S. does not make sense and not because any issues with getting an appropriate opponent.

“It’s precarious to do a Fury fight now in the United States with Covid still raging because we really miss having a huge U.K. contingent coming to Las Vegas, because not only does it help with the tickets but it creates a great atmosphere,” Arum said, noting that when Fury-Wilder III took place on Oct. 9 at T-Mobile Arena there was a travel ban in place that did not allow for British fans to attend the fight.

“We sold no tickets in the U.K. and you didn’t hear singing and the usual stuff that you hear when Fury fights in the United States,” Arum continued. “(The third fight) was American fans and it was highly anticipated and there was a good atmosphere, but it’s not the same as when there’s a lot of Brits and they’re singing and carrying on. (Fury will fight in the U.K. ) until this Covid situation is straightened out and we know it’s over and the Brits can travel and (we can) get the beer trucks out.”

Award-winning writer Dan Rafael is the Lead Boxing Contributor for World Boxing News. Follow Dan on social media @DanRafael1.