WBC interim heavyweight champion Dillian Whyte is aiming for a unification bout against Tyson Fury when he recovers from a shoulder injury.
Whyte withdrew from a fight against Otto Wallin scheduled for Saturday because of the injury and suggested during an appearance on the BBC Five Live boxing podcast the matchup be pushed to the back burner so he can take on Fury.
"That'll be the plan," Whyte said about fighting Fury in early 2022. "It's Wallin or Fury next. Of course Wallin is going to be upset. He's spent money he thought he was going to earn. Many times I've had fights fall through, you can't be upset."
The 33-year-old Whyte won a rematch with Alexander Povetkin in March to regain the interim belt after dropping it to Povetkin in August 2020.
Whyte, who owns a 28-2 career record, explained a medical review of his shoulder showed more extensive damage than expected, which led him to drop out of the fight with Wallin.
"We went and did an MRI [scan] the next day and it showed my shoulder was way worse than I thought it was. I wanted to fight," he told BBC Five Live. "I said if we managed it, got an injection before the fight, I'll fight. I didn't want to pull out. But no, because you get idiots like [Dmitriy] Salita and Wallin talking crap."
Salita, Wallin's promoter, told the Associated Press the WBC should reschedule the interim title fight once Whyte is healthy.
"Otto Wallin vs. Whyte should be rescheduled," he said. "Whyte should not be allowed to forego the fight with Otto and fight Fury next as a mandatory challenger."
Whyte disagrees, telling BBC Five Live he should be able to fight Fury if the opportunity arises.
"But in that time, if a potential better opportunity comes up, I've been waiting to fight for the world title," he said. "I'm not going to put it off to fight Otto Wallin."
Fury (31-0-1) hasn't announced plans for his next fight after completing a trilogy against Deontay Wilder with a knockout win in early October. He also beat Wilder by knockout in February 2020 after the pair fought to a split-decision draw in their first meeting in December 2018.
His promoter, Bob Arum, said it's important for Englishman Fury to have a fight in the UK after several fights in the United States recently.
"Who Fury fights next will be determined by Fury," Arum told Sky Sports. "If the fight is in the UK, I would think Whyte would be a good possibility, as well as [Joe] Joyce."
Joyce could emerge as the leading contender if the WBC orders Whyte to fight Wallin before he gets the shot at Fury.