Fury vs Whyte: fight report

The ringside report from the biggest British boxing bout in history

There have been some great punches landed in Wembley’s history. There was ‘Enry’s ‘Ammer that dropped a young Cassius Clay. There was Carl Froch’s crushing right that ended George Groves’s challenge for his world super-middleweight title. But Tyson Fury’s right uppercut that left Dillian Whyte sprawled on the floor in the sixth round could be the best of the lot. 

And if Fury’s promises of retirement prove to be lasting, it could be the last punch that Fury throws in anger. 

Fury had become one of sport’s great survivors. His first reign as world champion, when he held the WBA, WBO and IBF titles, lasted just one fight, as he took the titles from the long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf. Then depression, drink and drugs took over his life. 

Back in 2016, on the day it was revealed he had failed a test for cocaine, he was booed out of the Manchester Arena where he went to watch his close friend, Isaac Lowe, box. Hugely overweight, it seemed likely that he would never box again. 

There was something in the broken Fury that struck a chord with the British public. He went from zero to hero. Saturday was the crowning moment in that journey for the Gypsy King. 

Whyte had been an outsider but 94,000 fans – making up the biggest crowd to have watched a boxing match in Europe – had turned up for only the third all-British world heavyweight title in history. The show had sold out in a matter of minutes. 

He towered over Whyte and while speed and reach were his obvious advantages, power looked to be with the South Londoner. 

Fury wanted complete dominance. His performance at last Tuesday’s open workout pointed towards the idea that he might box southpaw. But it was Whyte who started left-handed, possibly an attempted double bluff on Fury. And when Whyte switched back at the start of the second round, it was Fury who switched briefly the other way. Nothing big was landing, but when Whyte threw a big shot, he missed wildly. 

Yet, after four rounds, Whyte would have been reasonably happy. Sure, he hadn’t won much, but deep down he probably knew his chances of winning depended on knocking Fury out. And by the fourth round, Whyte was in the fight. At times his jab was landing, at one point a huge left hook, brushed past Fury’s chin and the champion was being forced to hold, a sign that Whyte was getting close.  

It was descending into a brawl too. Fury was warned for holding, Whyte for using his elbow. They both used their heads.  

“He tried to make it rough, fair play to him,” Fury said. “He was trying to manhandle me in there, but have you ever tried wrestling with a dinosaur before? I’m like a T-Rex in there, 270 pounds, it’s difficult, especially when you’re shorter and not as quick.” 

But the fifth round was a bad one for Whyte. Fury landed three hard body shots on the Bodysnatcher. When Fury landed a one-two, Whyte stumbled, pointing to Fury’s feet to indicate he was tripped. But Whyte’s legs were slowing. 

Fury kept pestering away with jabs and one-twos, but he had spotted the opening. While the straight shots, aimed at Fury’s head, were being blocked, Whyte’s guard was getting higher and higher. That left room for a shot underneath. 

As the sixth round drew to a close, he touched Whyte with a light left jab, then landed a right uppercut that had a devastating effect of Whyte.   

The punch was all technique, hardly any back lift, and it landed perfectly. Fury finished with a small push to make sure Whyte fell over backwards rather than falling onto him.  

Whyte crawled onto his front, then somehow found his way to his feet at seven, holding his guard back up to show he was able to continue. But if Whyte’s mind was thinking that, his legs had other ideas. As referee Mark Lyson asked him to walk forward, he fell over his feet, landing in Lyson’s arms. Fury landed one more blow – a kiss on the side of Whyte’s head, as he began his celebrations. 

“I’ve thrown some good punches in my career and it was definitely a Wembley Stadium show-stopper,” he said. 

“I was very happy with a knock-out, but if it had been a 12-round points decision, I would have been happy with that. For me it’s about getting the W, it’s always been about getting the W.” 

You could crab Whyte’s ability to some extent, but he was a worthy challenger. He also wasn’t Deontay Wilder, whom he had faced three times in America, so any thoughts that Fury simply held a hex over Wilder can be put away too. After a messy build-up and preparation for his final fight with Wilder he was still able to get the victory, this is what he can do off the back of a perfect camp. Who has a serious shot at beating Fury like this? 

Tyson Fury delivers a powerful and meaningful message | Fury v Whyte post-fight press conference

No one, according to many, including Fury, who turned up at the post-fight press conference shirtless, a nod to his previous fight in Las Vegas, when he was similarly attired. Sugar Hill Steward, his trainer, stuck with the unusual dress code, while Frank Warren, his promoter, wore a suit. 

Can this era of heavyweight boxing really conclude without Fury facing the winner of the Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua rematch? He says so. 

“It’s been a fairytale few years, more than I ever dreamed of,” he said.  “I’ve won every belt there is to win. If this was a computer game, it would definitely be completed. 

“If it was about money, I’d continue, but it isn’t. It has never been about money. 

“I will be only the second heavyweight world champion after Rocky Marciano to retire undefeated.” 

Fury sees himself as a showman, so he knows you should always leave them wanting more. 

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