Tyson Fury’s all British-showdown with Dillian Whyte looks set to be made for early next year as the ‘Gypsy King’ makes his homecoming title defence.
Yet the bout will be especially poignant for Fury who once considered the Body-Snatcher a close friend before their relationship turned sour.
The 33-year-old retained his WBC heavyweight crown in stunning style in October, destroying Deontay Wilder once again in Las Vegas.
And it looks as if he may be set for a collision course with Whyte – who attempted to goad his fellow Brit into agreeing a fight on Instagram.
The 33-year-old captioned a training picture: “The coward really doesn’t want any smoke. I can’t wait for my moment, it will be a special night.”
Fury later responded with a series of images of the pair back when they were sparring partner together.
He wrote alongside the pictures: “Funny how people treat you when you are good to them.”
So how did the former friends turn foes? talkSPORT.com has all the details…
Whyte has twice been drafted in to act as Fury’s sparring partner and both have wildly different accounts over who got the better of who.
The Brixton banger joined the Gypsy King’s camp first in Manchester nine years ago ahead of the latter’s five-round win over Martin Rogan in 2012.
He then joined Fury again a year later on the Belgian-Dutch border for Fury’s doomed scrap with David Haye.
Speaking to Michelle Joy Phelps in 2019, Fury said: “Whyte is a heavy bag on legs, I punched his head in for him plenty of times in the gym and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to do it in the ring.”
Only a day later, Whyte had fired back to Sky Sports: “Tyson’s awkward, he’s long, he’s rangy, some days he may outbox you here and there, but I definitely laid him out before.
“I definitely put him on his bottom before.”
He later added: “He’s the one that came out and said he beat me up in the gym. I can tell you now, that didn’t happen.
“I don’t like telling sparring stories, but people in the game know. They know about me. Well, me and Tyson Fury sparred and I bashed him about and dropped him on multiple occasions. Simple as that.”
Use the Force Luke
Whyte’s previous relationship with Fury led to a shocking claim last month that the latter’s real name is Luke – which is currently listed as his middle name.
He told SunSport: “My real name is Dillian. I know his real name is Luke.
“He changed it to Tyson to make himself sound harder. People can have a little look around on the internet and see for themselves.
“In boxing, the name Tyson is a lot more sellable than Luke.
“A lot of what Tyson does and says is a game, you can never take anything he says seriously or at face value.
“He might say he wants to fight me sometimes but how can you trust a man who doesn’t even use his own name?”
Whyte’s recent frustrations towards Fury have been building for months due to the lack of title shots the former has received.
It was widely expected that the WBC would officially call for the fight at their convention last week, however the situation took an unexpected twist.
It has been known for several months that Whyte had taken action against the sanctioning body in pursuit of his title shot, though little has been made public about the specifics of the case.
The WBC indicated that the case is currently in an arbitration court, with no resolution as yet, hence why they cannot order a mandatory.
When most recently asked about the ongoing case back in July, Whyte’s promoter Eddie Hearn simply told talkSPORT.com: “Yeah, it’s still ongoing.
“I think Dillian Whyte’s pushing for answers and some justice.”
Fury upped the ante by claiming he was annoyed that the WBC didn’t order the bout as he was due an easy fight after epic clashes with Deontay Wilder.
He told IFL: “I am due for an easy fight so Dillian Whyte would have been ideal, a big punch bag on legs is what I am after and he would have been the ideal candidate.
“But he has his own legal situations going on that he has to sort out first.
“I don’t care who I fight but I am definitely fighting at the end of February or early March, 100 per cent guaranteed.
“And I don’t give a damn who it is because the outcome is always the same, I will win.”