Tyson Fury has been ordered to defend his WBC heavyweight title against Dillian Whyte.
The British rival has been named the ‘Gypsy King’s’ mandatory challenger by the sanctioning body and the two parties now have 30 days to agree a deal or purse bids will be called.
The organisation said in a statement: “The WBC hereby orders the start of the free negotiations period pursuant to the WBC rules and regulations for the mandatory bout between WBC world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and mandatory challenger and WBC interim world champion Dillian Whyte.”
A war of words between the former sparring partners has been growing since Fury’s knock-out defence of his title against Deontay Wilder in their trilogy fight in Las Vegas on October 9.
Fury then had a window of 30 days to set up a blockbuster undisputed clash with Oleksandr Usyk, who took the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles from Anthony Joshua in September.
There had been talk of Joshua stepping aside to allow the two champions to meet in the ring, but Joshua triggered his contractual clause to force a rematch with the Ukrainian.
In the meantime, Whyte pulled out of an October bout with Otto Wallin. When Fury’s 30-day deadline passed without an agreement to fight Usyk, the WBC did not immediately order the Whyte fight due to the challenger’s ongoing arbitration dispute against it.
However, it has now done so and a mouth-watering all-British fight is likely to take place in February or March, with Cardiff and Manchester mooted as potential locations.