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Tyson Fury vs. Dillian Whyte split highlights boxing’s biggest problems

3 min read
TysonFury post Wilder 2_2020

WBC world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is finally set to fight in the UK after a four-year absence, with March being touted as a potential window.

In terms of an opponent, it looked like mandatory challenger and WBC interim champion Dillian Whyte would finally get his shot at the iconic green and gold belt. Unfortunately, however, the WBC seems to have jeopardized the prospect of an all-British heavyweight showdown after announcing the splits for this particular contest.

According to the sanctioning body’s rules, the champion should receive 55 percent of the purse, while the interim challenger will be given 45 percent. This, in theory, should make negotiations relatively easy, but this is boxing, and more often than not, rules aren’t followed.

Following a meeting between the WBC and Top Rank, Fury’s US promoter, the sanctioning body approved the decision to make the split for this fight 80/20 in Fury’s favor.

When reports first emerged of the split, boxing fans were rightly outraged but not surprised as this sort of thing has become all too common within the sweet science.

Of course, Fury should pocket more of the purse. He is the champion, the more prominent name, and will be the one who will drive the majority of PPV sales on whatever platform this fight lands on, but Whyte should feel insulted by the agreed split.

Over the past few years, much has been made about the Body Snatcher’s 1000+ day reign as the number one challenger for the WBC belt. A knockout loss to Alexander Povetkin at Fight Camp in August 2019 was a bump in the road, but Whyte’s victory in the rematch seven months later thrusted him straight back into the world title picture.

Last October, a clash with former Fury foe Otto Wallin was scheduled for Whyte. Still, a shoulder injury to the 33-year-old resulted in the cancellation of the fight as he awaited a call to face the Gypsy King following his win against Deontay Wilder earlier that month.

Following a legal case between the WBC and Whyte, the fight was finally ordered with the controversial 80/20 split.

If the fight doesn’t get made, some will throw accusations of ‘ducking’ at Whyte after he has called out the holder of the WBC belt, whether it be Fury or Wilder before him, numerous times. But instead of venting frustration towards the fighters, fans should instead criticize the numerous sanctioning bodies, which often make the sport of boxing a laughing stock.

In this particular case, the WBC has bypassed its own rules, which are available to read on its website to favor its champion. If a fighter is considered a major star and holds a WBC belt, more often than not, the sanctioning body will bend the rules to satisfy their own monetary gains.

The WBC is not the only sanctioning body that is ruining the sport. The WBA, for example, have a never-ending sprawl of world titles and has often become a figure of fun whenever a fight involving one of their belts is on the line.

The frequent changing of rules to favor certain fighters, constant creation of meaningless world titles, and certain figures within the sport having too much power are three of just the many problems with boxing.

There have been calls for a world governing body to clean up the sport, which would be the ideal solution. But, unfortunately, boxing is already too fragmented, and politics will make this proposed idea a classic example of ‘easier said than done’.

In the end, if the sport is going to be more respected amongst the casuals, it’ll have to come down to the fighters themselves to make a stand against those who ruin the sport, whether it be vacating titles or refusing to abide by some of the ludicrous rules used by the sanctioning bodies.

Unfortunately, it’s tough to see Fury and Whyte agreeing to an 80/20 split in this particular instance. Fury will want the majority of the money generated, while Whyte seeks his fair share after what has been a long journey to his first world title shot.

This lack of movement on negotiations will most likely result in purse bids scheduled for Jan. 11, and that’s when it all starts to get a little more interesting.

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