Is Eddie Hearn For Or Against The “Franchise” Tag?
Over the past few weeks, there have been talks as to what to do with Tyson Fury and the WBC Heavyweight Title. Top Rank’s Bob Arum is interested in elevating his status to “franchise” level, while Dillian Whyte, the interim champion, will have the regular title. If Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn had a say on the matter, this wouldn’t be something he would even consider.
Hearn recently stated that Whyte has priority over anyone in boxing right now, so having a “franchise” champion would not be ideal. He ended up getting into the issue further on the SI Podcast, stating the value of a champion decreases when a change is made in the blink of an eye.
“The [WBC] ‘franchise’ is no good for the sport of boxing,” Hearn stated, via Boxing Scene. “How can you become great if you get to the point where you can find out, then it’s just ripped away? Haney becomes, via email really, WBC champion. He doesn’t want that. It’s the same for Dillian Whyte against Tyson Fury.
“I don’t want Fury to become WBC Franchise champion and the WBC to elevate Dillian Whyte from interim champion to World champion because he won’t ever feel like he beat the world heavyweight champion to become the heavyweight champion of the world.”
Hearn is referring to Devin Haney, who became WBC Lightweight Champion (former interim) after Vasiliy Lomachenko of Top Rank was named “franchise” champion.
Fury is scheduled to face off against Deontay Wilder in a trilogy bout sometime in November or December. The idea would be to face Anthony Joshua if he were to beat Wilder, as the two agreed in principle to fight one another in 2021. However, the WBC have inserted themselves into the situation, stating Whyte must get a title shot before the February 2021 deadline.
Whyte has been interim WBC Heavyweight Champion since 2019 and number one by the WBC since 2017.
“The WBC has consistently confirmed that a mandatory bout between the WBC world heavyweight champion must take place with the mandatory challenger and Interim champion Dillian Whyte,” WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman stated. “This must take place after Fury vs Wilder III.
“Under those circumstances, and with an order in place, the WBC would not consider a request to elevate anyone in the heavyweight division to Franchise Champion before that division’s mandatory obligations are fulfilled.”
Hearn went on to say that mandatory fights have to be fulfilled. Joshua is set to face Kubrat Pulev and may have to deal with Oleksandr Usyk after. Whyte has threatened legal action if he does not get his title opportunity. He is currently scheduled to face Alexander Povetkin on August 22 during the last week of “Matchroom Fight Camp”, a concept designed by Hearn.