Is Dillian Whyte set to sign with Top Rank?

First, it was Tyson Fury, and now Dillian Whyte could become the next UK heavyweight to join the Top Rank/ESPN revolution. Nothing has been officially announced as yet, but confirmation is pending as the online rumour mills churn relentlessly with the news.

It’s no secret that Whyte has been courting fresh offers since Eddie Hearn failed to deliver the two fights he most craved: a rematch with Anthony Joshua or a bout with WBC king Deontay Wilder.

Whyte was open about his recent discussions with the PBC, and now Bob Arum is reportedly poised to snatch up the Bodysnatcher’s signature.

Various names have been proposed for Tyson Fury’s first fight under the new Bob Arum (ESPN) and Frank Warren (BT Sport) agreement. Kubrat Pulev was initially mentioned, and more recently Joseph Parker, but no doubt all roads will now lead to a Fury vs Whyte pay-per-view showdown.

With Joshua the recognised cash cow of the division it is interesting to see the likes of Fury, Wilder, Luis Ortiz and now Dillian Whyte all say “no thanks” and set about targeting each other rather than the UK kingpin.

Trying to take on Eddie Hearn at the negotiating table that is social media (Twitter and YouTube notably) is a thankless task, and fighters have grown tired of lowball offers and a rabid pro-Joshua fan base hunting them down at every turn.

If the rumours are true, Whyte now has a big promoter and TV network behind him to at least help his leverage in negotiations. Not that anyone is suggesting he holds the same sway as the aforementioned trio of heavyweight stars, but he at least has some additional clout in his corner.

ESPN wants a piece of the heavyweight pie – and who could blame them? Bryant Jennings-Oscar Rivas was televised on the channel, even though none of the pair are realistic future champions. The Fury deal, plus this potential Whyte signing indicates a trend shift towards showcasing the sport’s premier attractions (Canelo aside). It will be interesting to see where Anthony Joshua goes from here, with opponent options drying up by the minute. Matchroom and their TV partners may have to reach out or engage in a bidding war to tempt the talent across for a shot at their jewel.

Joshua-Whyte II was not desirable but definitely marketable. All of a sudden that fight seems eminently more appealing given the withering options. Either way, Dillian Whyte has done his bit to remain in the mix by beating everything put in his way. The Brixton man deserves a big fight, and lets hope he gets one.

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