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Fury, Whyte to meet in UK for heavyweight belt

LONDON (AP) – Tyson Fury will defend his World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight title against Dillian Whyte in the United Kingdom (UK) this spring after promoter Frank Warren won a purse bid for the bout.

Top Rank, Fury’s United States (US)-based promoter, and Warren’s Queensberry Promotions announced the deal on Friday, concluding months of drawn-out negotiations over the unbeaten Fury’s future. Warren is paying just over USD41 million for the rights, according to WBC President Mauricio Sulaimán, making it the richest purse bid in boxing history.

Fury (31-0-1, 22 knockouts) took to his social media platforms to herald the deal for his first bout since his dramatic 11th-round knockout of Deontay Wilder last October in Las Vegas, completing their entertaining fight trilogy.

“Big GK is coming home, I’m coming home!” Fury sang, referring to his nickname, the Gypsy King. “Cannot wait. Me and Dillian are going to put it on the line.”

The date and location of the bout aren’t certain yet, but Fury’s announcement confirmed he and Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) plan to meet in the spring somewhere in the UK. Fury is a Manchester native, while Whyte was born in Jamaica and moved to Britain as a child.

Fury and Whyte squabbled for weeks over the split of fight revenue, and heavyweight stars Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk got involved in the discussions while promoters considered several options for the four heavyweights’ next steps.

Joshua was offered money to step aside from his contractually obligated rematch with Usyk to allow the Ukrainian three-belt heavyweight champion to unify the titles with a fight against Fury.

Joshua lost the World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Organisation (WBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) belts to Usyk in September.

But the negotiations ultimately led to a new challenge for Fury, who hasn’t fought in the UK since August 2018. Whyte is the mandatory challenger for Fury’s belt, and he is getting his first world title shot.

“Dillian Whyte got what he wished for,” Top Rank boss Bob Arum said. “I look forward to Tyson Fury defending the heavyweight title in one of the biggest all-British showdowns in boxing history. The Gypsy King is coming home.”

Tyson Fury hits Deontay Wilder during their heavyweight championship boxing bout in Las Vegas last year. PHOTO: AP
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