Eddie Hearn’s view on the WBC possibly elevating Tyson Fury to ‘Franchise Champion’ is they shouldn’t do it because the concept is bad for the sport of boxing. Hearn doesn’t think it’s good for the WBC champions to be able to skirt around fighting their mandatory challengers like Dillian Whyte.
WBC heavyweight champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) hasn’t said anything about wanting to be elevated to Franchise champion, but his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank is interested in that happening. What Arum doesn’t want is for Fury to get tied down fighting Whyte for the first half of 2021.
If Fury didn’t have the Whyte mandatory defense, he could go into a unification match against IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua, which is predicted to be the biggest fight in British heavyweight history.
Hearn is in a tough position with his Matchroom Boxing promotional company guiding the card of Whyte and the WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk. As Whyte’s promoter, Hearn can’t say he would prefer Joshua fight Fury first because Dillian’s mandatory is due next February.
It would look like Hearn is abandoning Whyte if encouraged Fury to ignore his obligations and Fury Joshua in early next year.
“The Franchise championship is no good for the sport of boxing,” said Hearn to SI Podcast. “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.
“By the way, I don’t want AJ to fight Fury for the Franchise championship because some people will say it’s not undisputed. As a champion, you have mandatories. Anthony Joshua has two mandatories; Kubrat Pulev, who he’ll deal with next, and then Oleksandr Usyk.
“We do have an issue with Oleksandr Usyk. He has to get his shot at the heavyweight title. Maybe AJ fights him in the spring. Some mandatory challengers aren’t the most deserving challengers in the world. Dillian Whyte is the most deserving challenger I’ve seen for a long time. So give him his opportunity.
“Maybe AJ against Fury isn’t an undisputed fight. I wouldn’t stop it from happening if it wasn’t, but wouldn’t it be fantastic if that fight is for all the marbles,” said Hearn.
Whether Hearn believes what he’s saying about the WBC Franchise championship being bad for boxing or not is unknown. But given that Hearn promotes Whyte and NOT Fury, can’t say that he would be okay with that fight not happening next February.
The Franchise IS good for boxing in terms of it, allowing the famous champions to face the most prominent name possible to maximize revenue. We’re seeing that with Vasiliy Lomachenko using his WBC 135-pound Franchise title to veer around a smaller money fight against Devin Haney to face the famous IBF champion, Teofimo Lopez.