Tyson Fury holds further power over Deontay Wilder and potential fight for the vacant WBC heavyweight title against Andy Ruiz Jr.
Wilder is awaiting the outcome of Ruiz vs old rival Luis Ortiz on September 4th. If Ruiz wins, the former champion will be closer to a shot at Fury.
If Fury vacates – as expected – Wilder will be given the first option to face Ruiz for the vacated strap.
Deontay Wilder vs Andy Ruiz Jr
WBN understands promoter Al Haymon hopes this will be the case for a Deontay Wilder vs Andy Ruiz Jr. Pay Per View at the back end of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023.
At present, reading through the WBC Rules and Regulations over mandatory or voluntary defenses, Fury will not be asked to fight a mandatory before April of next year.
This scenario is evident in the WBC obligations.
WBC Championship Rules
“A WBC champion should strive to defend the title in mandatory or voluntary defenses at least three (3) times a year. That’s unless a written exception or extension is
granted by the WBC in its sole discretion.
“Therefore, a WBC champion should strive to defend his title at least every one hundred twenty (120) days. Unless otherwise permitted by the WBC in its sole discretion.
“Upon winning a title, a WBC champion must defend the title within 90 to 120 days or as otherwise ordered by the WBC, unless otherwise ordered or
permitted by the WBC in its sole discretion.
“A champion who does not defend his title within the periods set forth herein shall forfeit his title unless the WBC in its sole discretion otherwise permits.
“Further, the WBC may also withdraw recognition of a mandatory or qualifying challenger for inactivity or failure to engage in any bout ordered by the WBC. A WBC champion may not compete to hold a championship of another organization unless permitted by the WBC in its sole discretion.”
WBC Mandatory Rules
On mandatory defense, the WBC rules state: “All WBC champions shall make at least one (1) mandatory defense per year. That’s unless an exception is granted by the WBC in its sole discretion.
“A champion may be required to make more than one mandatory defense per year if the WBC has designated more than one mandatory challenger for any reason.
“No bout shall be considered a mandatory defense unless expressly approved as mandatory by the WBC and made exclusively against an official mandatory challenger designated by the WBC.
“A challenger who wins the title inherits the mandatory defense obligations of the champion he defeated unless the WBC in its sole discretion otherwise directs.”
Fury, if he returns, has only two options. One is to make a voluntary defense. The other would be to wait for Ruiz or Ortiz in April.
WBC Voluntary Rules
WBC Voluntary rules state:
“Champions shall defend their titles, either in a voluntary or mandatory defense, against a challenger (each, a “Qualified Challenger”) in one of the
(a) any of the top ten (10) rated contenders; or
(b) with the approval of or ratification by a majority of the Board of Governors,
i. any boxer rated 11 to 15;
ii. a champion or a highly-rated boxer of another weight division;
iii. another WBC champion, such as a WBC Diamond or Silver Champion, Champion Emeritus, or Champion in Recess;
iv. a former world champion or other elite challenger;
v. a champion of another boxing organization recognized by the WBC; or (c) under special circumstances and with the approval of or ratification by two-third
(2/3rd) of the Board of Governors, a contender not otherwise listed in one or more of
the above categories.
“To fulfill their requirement to defend the title regularly in a timely manner, champions shall propose voluntary defenses against Qualified Challengers as defined above. No bout shall qualify as a voluntary defense other than as permitted by the WBC – in accordance with these Rules & Regulations or any WBC rulings.
“Any bout (voluntary or mandatory) in which a WBC World Champion would compete for or defend a title or status other than his WBC World Championship. Even if the WBC title is also at stake, it is not permitted absent special circumstances.
“Then only following a prior written request to and approval by the WBC, which in its sole discretion may approve, deny, or impose such terms and conditions as it may determine appropriate under the facts and circumstances on a case-by-case basis.”
Tyson Fury holds power over Deontay Wilder
Therefore, Fury could delay Ruiz’s opportunity at the title by taking a voluntary before his mandatory. However, this would still leave Wilder vs Ruiz on the table, possibly for the interim championship.
If Fury chooses, he could go straight into a defense against Ruiz. The Briton would ultimately put a block on Wilder facing the Mexican.
This outcome happened previously in 2020 when Haymon initially wanted to pit Wilder and Ruiz together. Fury had walked away from a trilogy with Wilder until the American launched arbitration to make Fury fulfill the contract.
Once the officiator decided Fury vs Wilder III had to happen, Ruiz was left to fend for himself without the Wilder fight.
The World Boxing Council will expect a decision from Fury before December, when Deontay Wilder vs Andy Ruiz Jr talks will be well underway, provided the latter wins.
Despite assurances that there is no rush to defend and Fury won’t get pressured, the fans will undoubtedly push the WBC to make a decision primarily if Fury competes in an exhibition before his WBC obligations.
It’s a messy situation until Fury reveals whether he will one hundred percent walk away from the professional side of the sport or not.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.