Tyson Fury retains WBC heavyweight title after beating Dillian Whyte by technical knockout
Wembley Stadium, London
Tyson Fury retained his WBC heavyweight title after beating Dillian Whyte by sixth-round technical knockout in front of 94,000 raucous fans at Wembley Stadium.
It was a true boxing masterclass from Fury, who further cemented his place at the top of the heavyweight division this generation.
Whyte entered the fight with serious aspirations to take the WBC belt from Fury, but was outmatched and outclassed from the opening bell in what was one of the most anticipated heavyweight fights in recent history. .
“He [Whyte] did not fight the world champion tonight,” Fury said in his post-match press conference. “I’m not the world champion, I’m a legend in this game. You can’t deny it, I’m the best heavyweight there ever was.
The 94,000 tickets sold out in just a few hours and set an all-time record for the biggest boxing match attendance in Europe and the biggest in the world of the 21st century.
Wembley Stadium was three-quarters full two hours before Fury and Whyte even took their ringside walks – perhaps unsurprising given some fans had paid around £2,000 ($2,570 ) for the most premium seats.
With the two fighters hailing from the UK – Fury from Manchester and Whyte from London – they were each treated to a raucous reception when they first appeared on the big screens, Fury narrowly edging Whyte on the Decibel meter. .
Thanks to his larger-than-life character and incredible technical abilities, Fury possesses a unique magnetism and is extraordinarily popular among British boxing fans, but Whyte’s grit and determination over what has at times been a career in roller coaster also endeared him to the public.
This shot at the WBC heavyweight title was long overdue and many felt it was long overdue.
The build-up to the fight had been uncharacteristically friendly by heavyweight division standards, with both men clearly having a great deal of respect for each other.
The couple shared a number of comedic moments during fight week, including when they participated in a dance during the weigh-in.
Fury also caused the assembled media to burst into laughter at Wednesday’s press conference when he playfully grabbed Whyte during the confrontation.
As expected, however, all the niceties dissipated when the first bell rang; Fury had promised fans “a real war” in the ring and it was certainly a promise he kept.
With the defending champ boasting superior skill should the fight go on and be decided on points, Whyte knew his only realistic shot to claim the title was to knock Fury out, so he naturally started on the front foot.
After a tentative first round, Whyte came off swinging at the start of the second with a huge right hook that Fury dodged gracefully, drawing the crowd’s first ‘ooh’.
As the third round drew to a close, Fury landed two punches on Whyte and gave himself a nod of approval.
On the fourth, the niceties were well and truly over. Whyte seemed upset with Fury for an apparent use of the head, leading referee Mark Lyson to give the two men a stern talk in their respective corners.
The clash injected some animosity into the fight, as Lyson once again had to separate the fighters after they landed several punches while hanging in the corner.
For a split second, Whyte looked like he was going for Fury after the bell had run out, seemingly unhappy with what he initially thought was a late shot.
Such was the growing tension, the referee was forced to herd the fighters into the middle of the ring before the start of the fifth round.
The crowd inside Wembley rose to their feet after Fury delivered an opening blow to Whyte’s body, before staggering his opponent for the first time with a shot to the head.
Whyte began to look increasingly desperate as round six wore on, finding himself on the ropes after aiming for a wild swing that Fury easily dodged.
It was the beginning of the end for a clearly tired Whyte.
Without his guard, Whyte walked straight into a shaky right uppercut from Fury.
The lights went out instantly for Whyte, who dropped onto his back like a big felled tree. He did well to get back to his feet, but Lyson was forced to stop the fight after Whyte staggered past him.
Now the question is: what next for Fury? The 33-year-old insisted several times during the week that he was going to retire after this fight, a claim his training partner Joseph Parker called “very sincere”.
Fury said in his post-fight interview that it was now “curtains” for his boxing career.
Whether or not Fury will keep his word remains to be seen, but he’s a fighter still at the peak of his powers and the idea of unifying the heavyweight titles must remain a tantalizing proposition, even for a man who has achieved so much. in the sport.
After his dismantling of Anthony Joshua, Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk is in possession of the other heavyweight belts and a fight between Fury and one of those fighters would be a tantalizing matchup for fans of the sport.
With 94,000 fans hanging on his every word and joining in on his now-iconic rendition of Don McLean’s “American Pie,” it would surely be hard for Fury to say no to a last night under the lights.