WBC heavyweight champ Fury is already contractually obligated to fight Deontay Wilder for a third time following his seven-round destruction of the then-undefeated American earlier this year.
Should Fury win again, the expectation is that the path would then be clear for the all-English showdown against rival world champion Joshua.
However, fight fans could be made to wait for a little longer after WBC head Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed that the winner of the Fury-Wilder trilogy match must take on mandatory challenger Whyte in early 2021 – with Whyte now waiting over 1,000 days for his opportunity.
“The WBC has reviewed every single weight category, considering the pandemic,” Sulaiman told Sky Sports.
“We have had the flexibility with our champions and the WBC has approved Fury to fight by the end of the year, if it’s announced that it might be December 19, and the winner must make the mandatory defence early next year.
“When the [Fury-Wilder] fight takes place, we will order the pre-negotiations, so it’s a process that the promoters negotiate the fight and a date.
“It makes no sense to speculate on a date, but it’s going to be early next year when they are able to negotiate, or it goes to a purse bid.”
Joshua, who holds three of the four recognized heavyweight world titles, also must get past his own mandatory challenger in Kubrat Pulev before any fight with Fury becomes a reality – meaning that Fury and Joshua now must win a combined three fights in order for their very own Battle of Britain to go down next summer.
Joshua vs. Pulev is expected to take place in December, freeing up a potential summer 2021 date for Joshua – and his promoter Eddie Hearn says that Whyte has earned the opportunity against Fury.
“Dillian takes priority,” Hearn said. “Dillian has to have that fight by the end of February, and if it goes into March, it goes into March.
“Anthony Joshua is boxing in December. He won’t be ready to box again until June-July. Everybody acknowledges that’s the mandatory and that it’s next.”
Whyte has his own business to take care of, too, with the Londoner set to face Russian former world heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin at Eddie Hearn’s “Fight Camp” on August 22.