Heavyweight contenders Dillian Whyte and Oscar Rivas will meet in a world title elimination fight July 20 at the O2 Arena in London, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced Saturday.
The winner will be in line for an eventual shot at the belt held by Deontay Wilder, who first has his due mandatory defense against Dominic Breazeale on May 18.
"Rivas is undefeated and looking to take Dillian's No. 1 spot, but as we know, the O2 has become a fortress for him of late and this is set to be another war," Hearn said.
Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs), 31, of England, has won nine fights in a row since a knockout loss to Anthony Joshua before he won a world title, and has beaten several quality opponents but has not been able to land a title shot just yet. He has beaten former titlist Joseph Parker, Dereck Chisora (twice), Lucas Browne and Robert Helenius.
"Oscar Rivas is undefeated and ranked in the top 10 across the board of all the governing bodies. He has been one of the most avoided heavyweight fighters in the last few years," Whyte said.
Rivas (26-0 18 KOs), 31, a Colombia native fighting out of Montreal, is coming off his biggest victory, a 12th-round knockout of former world title challenger Bryant Jennings on Jan. 18.
"His KO victory over Bryant Jennings sent shockwaves through the division and Tyson Fury just turned down ESPN/Top Rank's offer to fight him," Whyte said. "I am over the moon that he has accepted the fight. He has a great amateur and professional record, including a win over Kubrat Pulev [in the amateur ranks]. I am more than happy to carry on fighting top-10 fighters like Rivas until I get my well-earned shot at Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua."
Rivas said he was excited to have the highest-stakes fight of his career.
"I have waited for this opportunity for a very long time," Rivas said. "Dillian Whyte is an excellent boxer, a world-class fighter and the No. 1 contender. He deserves all my respect for his accomplishments and I am grateful for the opportunity he is giving me.
"This is exactly the kind of challenge I was hoping to get. I am undefeated, I am planning to keep my perfect record after July 20 in my quest to get the ultimate opportunity to become world champion."
Rivas promoter Yvon Michel said Rivas was willing to step in to face Joshua for his belts on short notice June 1 after Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller failed three drug tests, but Rivas did not get the fight.
He said Hearn, who also promotes Joshua, made an offer for the fight with Whyte that was "impossible to turn down."
"Oscar Rivas was willing to step up and face Anthony Joshua for June in New York and representations were made," Michel said. "It might not be his turn now, but instead he is extremely happy to be earning an eventual world title opportunity by proving he is the best amongst the contenders against the outstanding Dillian Whyte."