Tyson Fury replacing Dillian Whyte as the mandatory challenger to Deontay Wilder’s WBC championship is a “decision of convenience”, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

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Whyte was suspended of his status as mandatory challenger, which he earned by beating Oscar Rivas, in the wake of an “adverse finding” in a UK Anti-Doping test – he has insisted that he won that fight “fair and square”.

A recent statement from the WBC indicated that Whyte must wait 16 months for his first world title opportunity. It said: “If his situation is resolved, he will become the mandatory challenger for February, 2021.”

Fury, who drew his first fight against Wilder, has now been installed as the mandatory challenger ahead of an expected rematch with Wilder in 2020.

“Nothing surprises me now,” Whyte’s promoter Hearn told Sky Sports. “I don’t see how they can suspend his position when he’s not suspended himself by any governing bodies, or particularly by any doping agencies.

“Again, we still want UKAD to hurry up and make a statement on that fight, because that situation is almost getting boring now.

“I think the whole franchise situation, mandatory situation, it’s just madness really. It’s almost like a decision of convenience I feel, more than anything else.”

Whyte outpointed Rivas in his most recent fight Whyte outpointed Rivas in his most recent fight Whyte outpointed Rivas in his most recent fight

Extended Deontay Wilder interview

Extended Deontay Wilder interview

The WBC has recently upgraded Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Vasiliy Lomachenko to ‘franchise’ champions, in turn making Devin Haney the lightweight champion and Jermall Charlo the middleweight champion, respectively.

No such decision has been made for heavyweight champion Wilder, though.

Whyte may be back in the ring before the end of this year. Hearn said: “Possibly. There’s a chance he could box on our show in America on December 20.

“We are talking at the moment, but it will be the end of this year, or first thing next year.”

Wilder has cast doubt on whether his second fight with Fury will happen, saying: “I don’t think he ever wanted the rematch. I understand him running. He can run, run, run as far as he can but he must understand that he signed the contract. The pen is a solid warrior – there are consequences for getting out of [the contract].”

🗣"I'm definitely world champion." 👑@Realdevinhaney has his say on being made WBC world title holder outside of the ring. 📺 Haney makes his first defence this Saturday night live on Sky Sports Box Office – Buy here: https://t.co/VRyaSNKnjb pic.twitter.com/C5gnCfgVUf

— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) November 6, 2019

Wilder came through a difficult first fight with Ortiz Wilder came through a difficult first fight with Ortiz Wilder came through a difficult first fight with Ortiz

Unbeaten Wilder will next defend his belt against Luis Ortiz on November 23, live on Sky Sports.

Wilder said: “He was the boogey-man for a reason. To this day, they don’t fight him for a reason.

“They say he’s old, but they won’t fight this old man. Plenty of people have had the opportunity to become my mandatory, and all they’ve had to do is fight Luis Ortiz.

“They never gave him the opportunity.

“I’m the best in the world and I believe in that.