A hotly-anticipated rematch between Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua in August is back on track after having been thrown into chaos in a row between Whyte and promoter Eddie Hearn.
Whyte and Joshua have a professional rivalry dating back to 2009 when Whyte beat his opponent by unanimous decision in what was his first-ever amateur fight. Six years later they battled for the vacant British heavyweight title, which Joshua won by knockout.
It had looked highly likely that they would fight again at the O2 Arena on August 12th, but earlier this month Whyte cast doubt on that, saying that Hearn had stopped responding to calls and emails for over a month.
Hearn had claimed that Whyte had turned down the fight because it hadn’t met his financial expectations, but shortly afterward a new proposal was made. However, Whyte wasn’t happy with the terms of the new contract.
He told talkSPORT: “Well we had a contract, the contract’s with my lawyer and my lawyers have gone back to him. They said it was gonna be a standard contract but it’s not. There’s a lot of things in the contract now that they didn’t say was gonna be in it.”
The stumbling block appeared to be a fight in December in Saudi Arabia, where Joshua is pencilled in to take on Deontay Wilder – at an event also rumored to feature Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk.
Whyte had believed that if he beat Joshua in August, he would be able to arrange a similarly high-profile fight for himself, but the new contract specified that he would need to contend another rematch against Joshua instead.
“I just want a straightforward fight, winner moves on, that’s it,” he said. “I’m not happy with the rematch clause for one and then also there’s other little things in there that would tie me in. If I fight AJ and beat him, I can’t just move on and go and fight in the big fights. They want the ability to change the date and the venue.”
He said that the new rematch clause would tie him up for a year, insisting that money has never been an issue with this fight as his priority was the opportunities that winning it would offer him. If those opportunities are hindered by a rematch clause, he insists he was no longer interested.
Back on Track?
Fortunately, Hearn has now indicated that Joshua has told him to remove the rematch clause, so it seems like this fight is – probably – finally back on and both fighters can start preparing to do battle in the ring instead of tussling over contracts.
Hearn though remains sceptical, saying that he has concerns over whether Whyte and his team are serious about fighting Joshua again or are just using this controversy to raise his profile and land another fight instead.
At least it does seem like negotiations for the Wilder fight in December are running more smoothly, with Hearn confident that will be officially announced shortly, even if he still wants to announce the Whyte fight first. Watch this space.
Written and distributed by Chat T Sports.