Old sparring partners Tyson Fury, Dillian Whyte ready for title bout


The tall order that comes with defeating Tyson Fury doesn’t end with figuring out his 6-foot-9 frame and 85-inch reach.

Cracking the code to dethrone the reigning heavyweight champion also requires outclassing a fighter blessed with solid boxing skills for a man his size. And if that is solved, Fury opponents, at some point in a fight, will have to expose their chins and trade power shots.

Fury’s opponents have attempted the aforementioned strategies without success. Take your pick — out-box or out-bang — Fury conquered them all and is now considered one of boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighters.

England’s Dillian Whyte will have his chance to accomplish the unimaginable Saturday night in London. Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) will defend his WBC heavyweight belt against Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) at Wembley Stadium. The bout between the British fighters has sold out with a crowd of 94,000 expected.

Fury has finally moved on from nemesis Deontay Wilder after their trilogy of entertaining bouts. The first match in 2018 ended in a draw before Fury scored consecutive knockout victories the past two years.

“We’ve done everything possible to train,” Fury said. “I haven’t left any stones unturned. I’ve trained as hard for Dillian as I did for Wilder or anybody. There’s no excuses from me. He’s fighting the best version of Tyson Fury.”

After his last win against Wilder, Fury angled for a title unification match with fellow British heavyweight Anthony Joshua. However, Joshua lost to Oleksandr Usyk in September and the dream bout projected for Wembley fell through.

Enter Whyte, a former sparring mate of Fury’s before Fury won his first heavyweight title against Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.

“It means everything to fight in my home country,” Whyte said. “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I’ve taken risks time and time again but I’m here. I’m ready to go. You’re not going hear any BS from me.”

Whyte landing a title shot didn’t seem likely following his fifth-round knockout loss to Alexander Povetkin in 2020. But Whyte avenged the loss with a seventh-round TKO win in a direct rematch last year.

“I lost to Povetkin and a lot of people said I’m finished,” Whyte said. “I believe in myself and I will do whatever it takes. I’m not scared to take risks. I’ve taken risks my whole life. It’s nothing new.”

Fury is the prohibitive favorite to retain his belt Saturday. In the closing days leading to fight night, the narrative has taken a different turn with Fury, 33, saying he will retire after the bout. But champions retiring at their peak rarely follow through on their words. Those who walk away often succumb to the comeback bug.

“It’s been an amazing journey from where I started all those years ago to the ups and downs and being away from boxing,” Fury said. “After those big fights with Deontay and now being back in England and now I’m fighting my old pal Dillian Whyte for all the glory and all the belts. We’re looking forward to an awesome memorable night.

“I think everybody is underestimating how good of a fight this is going to be. I see all these odds and just I laugh at them because they’re obviously coming from people who don’t know boxing. This is a heavyweight boxing fight. Anyone can win with one punch and it’s good night, Vienna.”

–Field Level Media


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