Dillian Whyte’s potential second summer fight with Anthony Joshua may have moved a little closer to fruition, with Eddie Hearn claiming that the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight world champion will "not be dictated to by the belts".
In a YouTube video from Matchroom Sports, alongside Whyte, Hearn said:
"AJ's not gonna be dictated to by the belts. So maybe he bins off [mandatories] Pulev and Usyk and fights Dillian in the summer. Anything could happen. The country would stop for that fight."
The pair first met back in 2015 when AJ handed Whyte the only blemish on his professional record to date. Ever since then, Whyte has been hopeful of avenging that defeat, and 2020 could be the year he finally gets his fellow Brit back in the ring.
We'll always have that animosity. We can be cool. If I see him faint in the road I'll stop my car and help him up, but if we were fighting then I'd run him over.
Whyte’s 2020 is beginning to take shape with his promoter Hearn confirming he has made a "big, seven-figure offer" for Andy Ruiz Jr to be 'The Bodysnatcher's' next opponent. To the 31-year-old's credit, has proven in the past that he is not one to shy away from an opponent and seems willing to step into the ring at any given chance, although his past performances have earned him a big fight this year.
Andy Ruiz Jr will be looking to capitalise on his new-found celebrity status with another big payday while the Mexican-American will also be out to prove himself after a disappointing showing in Saudi Arabia against AJ, in their December rematch.
Ruiz had put on too much weight and looked a shadow of the man who knocked the heavyweight champion to the canvas four times in Madison Square Gardens but a fight against Whyte could be his best option financially.
Hearn confirmed that the plan for Whyte this year would be for a fight to take place in March/April, before a summer bout in the US (unless AJ becomes a viable possibility), and then rounding off the year with a big winter fight. As well as Andy Ruiz, Hearn’s team are also in talks with Alexander Povetkin over a potential match-up this year.
The Russian, who also has a loss to AJ on his record, drew with Michael Hunter in Saudi Arabia last time out and will be hoping for a big name to get his career back on track. For the Brit, a fight against Andy Ruiz would be a perfect way to kick off his 2020.
Having dealt with the likes of Joseph Parker, Dereck Chisora (twice) and Oscar Rivas in recent bouts he deserves to be considered as one of the elite fighters in the heavyweight division. A fight with Ruiz would certainly excite the boxing public and if he comes through that, a Battle of Britain with AJ may well be on the horizon.
Although Hearn paints AJ as somebody who does not care about the belts, we're sure the champion may view things slightly differently as he aims to become the unified heavyweight champion of the world.