BRIXTON heavyweight Dillian Whyte has vacated the British title as he pursues a potential WBC world title shot.

The British Boxing Board of Control had ordered him to box Sam Sexton in defence of his title, but Whyte told Sky Sports News that he felt such a fight would be a ‘backward step.’

In December, Whyte engaged Dereck Chisora in the 2016 British Fight of the Year, earning a narrow points decision to claim a lofty WBC ranking.

He is firmly inside the division’s top 10, and had previously indicated that he could be matched with former champion Bermane Stiverne in a final eliminator. Stiverne was scheduled to box Alexander Povetkin last year to determine a mandatory challenger for current champion Deontay Wilder, however the Russian failed another drug test before the bout, prompting Stiverne to pull out.

Whyte’s promotional stablemate, Luis Ortiz, is also ranked highly by the WBC.

Another option for Whyte is a rematch with Chisora, given how exceptional – and close – their first meeting was. According to both men, it all comes down to money but there is plenty of room on the Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko April 29 undercard for such a rematch.

Whyte won the vacant British title in October of last year when he forced Ian Lewison to retire after 10 rounds. It was his second attempt at the belt, having been knocked out by Anthony Joshua for it in December 2015.

Wilder will make the next defence of his WBC crown on February 25 against lightly-regarded Andrzej Wawrzyk.