Dillian Whyte, ESPN's No. 6 heavyweight, has withdrawn from an Oct. 30 fight with Otto Wallin in London after suffering a shoulder injury, multiple sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
Whyte, the WBC's interim champion and longtime No. 1 contender, is expected to push for an immediate title shot against Tyson Fury in 2022 rather than reschedule the fight with Wallin, sources said.
The WBC ruled earlier this month that Fury will be ordered to fight Whyte unless an undisputed heavyweight title fight with Oleksandr Usyk is agreed to. Anthony Joshua exercised his contractual right to a rematch with Usyk afterward, all but ensuring that Fury will be ordered to fight the WBC's interim heavyweight champion.
Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) was set to defend that interim title against Wallin, meaning the winner of the Oct. 30 bout would gain a shot at Fury next year. Now the situation becomes murky. WBC Mauricio Sulaiman told ESPN that once he has official notification from promoter Eddie Hearn that Whyte-Wallin is off, the WBC will make a ruling on the title situation.
"We believe the WBC will make the right decision instead of giving Dillian Whyte a straight ahead journey to Tyson Fury," Wallin's promoter, Dmitry Salita, told ESPN. "Dillian Whyte should not be rewarded with a fight with Tyson Fury based on having an injury, legitimate or not.
"What makes [the injury] a bit suspicious is that there's been rumors for weeks about Dillian Whyte pulling out of the fight, and he even said 'I could pull out of the fight and fight Tyson Fury next, but I'm not going to because I'm a man.'"
Whyte, 33, suffered the injury weeks ago, sources said, but he pushed on with training because he hadn't fought since a March TKO of Alexander Povetkin and was also set for a sizable payday. The shoulder injury was exacerbated in a Monday sparring session, sources said, and Whyte underwent an MRI on Wednesday.
Wallin (22-1, 14 KOs) was scheduled to fly to London on Wednesday before receiving the news. The 30-year-old Swede was virtually unknown when he challenged Fury for the lineal heavyweight championship in September 2019.
However, he shocked the world and pushed Fury to the brink in a closely contested unanimous-decision loss. He opened up two nasty cuts over Fury's right eye that bled profusely throughout the bout.
"I had 38 professional fights," said Salita, who claims to be awaiting medical proof of the injury from Hearn. "This week is just to stay sharp, shadow box, hit the bags a little bit, and be ready for fight week. So that he gets injured in such a way doesn't seem to be in line with traditional boxing practices."
"Even if he is legitimately injured - it's a possibility -- the fight should be rescheduled at a later date."
Wallin was roughly a 2-1 underdog to defeat Whyte.