The WBC has ordered Tyson Fury to defend his heavyweight belt against mandatory challenger Dillian Whyte.
WBC champion Fury (31-0-1) and WBC interim holder Whyte (28-2) are on track to meet in the ring next year after the World Boxing Council forced negotiations for the mandatory bout on Tuesday.
Whyte moved in line for the fight after the 30-day period granted by the WBC for Fury and IBF, WBA and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk to arrange an undisputed showdown passed without negotiations.
"Fury has been mandated to fight me twice. He asked for the WBC 'Diamond' belt to fight me, but ran away when they agreed. He just keeps making excuses," Whyte told Sky Sports last month.
"Hopefully now he's got no choice. What's he going to do? Throw the belt in the bin and run away from more money than he got to fight [Deontay] Wilder?
"Obviously he says he's a fighting man and a man of his word, but we all know he talks a lot of s***, so let's see. He said he was going to fight me after he beat Wilder, then he ran away. Let's see what he does."
The WBC hereby orders the start of the free negotiations period pursuant to the WBC Rules & Regulations for the mandatory bout between WBC World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury and Mandatory Challenger and WBC Interim World Champion Dillian Whyte. pic.twitter.com/XFugoKHrQM— World Boxing Council (@WBCBoxing) December 7, 2021
Fury defended his belt with a devastating 11th-round knockout of Deontay Wilder in October.
British star Fury stayed undefeated thanks to his 11th-round KO against Wilder in their blockbuster trilogy in Las Vegas.
In an all-time epic bout, Fury was dropped twice but got the better of Wilder (42-2-1), who showed incredible courage to make it to the penultimate round having appeared out on his feet.
Fellow Brit Whyte avenged his loss to Alexander Povetkin with a fourth-round TKO in March earlier this year, reclaim the WBC interim title.
The 33-year-old has scored wins over Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora in his career, while he lost to Anthony Joshua via TKO in 2015.