By Steve Douglas, AP13: 06
During the week of fighting, so much comes out of Tyson Fury that it’s hard to know which aspects to overlook and what to take seriously from one of the most colorful and controversial boxing figures.
Yet in one thing, the world heavyweight champion seems consistent. His title defense against Dillian Whyte on Sunday morning (AEST) will be his last match before retirement.
“I’m getting out healthy and in one piece. Undefeated,” said the self-proclaimed “Gypsy King.”
“Tune in now, because after this you’ll never see a big ‘GK’ in action. This is it.”
If that’s really it – and it’s probably right to be skeptical, given that Fury is 33 and makes more money than he ever had on top of a boxing awning – then what way to go.
The All-British match at Wembley Stadium in London in front of more than 94,000 spectators, which is the largest capacity for a boxing match on these shores.
Sure, the opportunity would be bigger if the opponent was Anthony Joshua, another big British heavyweight player. The money at stake is also likely to be larger, although a successful $ 57 million bid for Whyte makes it the richest in boxing history.
However, Fury seems satisfied with his fate.
He was there this week and was taking part in what was billed as a “staring sight” between the two British when they first clashed head-to-head, a rather inconspicuous build-up.
After a few seconds, Fury decided to tickle Whyt on the ribs and then shook his opponent – and his former sparring partner – seriously.
But don’t get me wrong. Fury will be deadly serious when he fights at home for the first time since 2018 – and for the first time since 2019 against someone not named Deontay Wilder – to defend his WBC belt.
“If I’m not in Game A, then the man will knock my head straight off my shoulders,” Fury said (31-0-1, 22 KO).
“I’m going to have to be in shape to beat him, and he’s going to have to do his best to beat me. He’s definitely a man who needs a lot of respect, and that’s what I gave him.”
Fury’s reputation grew during his engaging trilogy with Wilder in the United States. He showed that he could box on his hind and front legs, had a strong chin, and had as much agility and speed in his feet and hands as the strength behind his big punches.
He would have too much for Whyte (28-2, 19 KO), who is well-built and enjoys turning snail fights with energy-depleting blows to his body. Fury, who comes from Irish-Gypsy descent and comes from a bloodline of champions with exposed joints, is certainly the more skilful of these two boxers.
What remains to be seen is whether Fury has taken his eyes off the ball in recent weeks amid controversy over his connection to Daniel Kinahan, one of the leaders of the organized crime gang, for whom the US Treasury Department has offered a $ 7 million reward. department for information that will lead to his destruction or arrest and conviction.
The only time Fury lost his cool head this week was when he was questioned about Kinahan in various media appearances.
Otherwise, it was the same lifelong Fury, bursting with jokes, storytelling, and courtship as the greatest heavyweight of its generation. He said he spent time on the driving range at his local golf club in the North West of England to improve his right arm by “putting my shoulder in the blow, really going through it.”
And for his pride in returning from mental health and drug problems to becoming number one in heavyweight and, at one time or another, the holder of all belts in the division.
“I have nothing more to achieve,” he said.
But Whyte has his own memorable story, which involves being drawn into the culture of London gangs in his youth after moving to Britain from Jamaica, a short prison term and a two-year ban on boxing for a positive test for a banned stimulant. .
He spent so long that he was overlooked for trying to become a world heavyweight champion, even though he was a mandatory challenger to wonder if his time would ever come.
Whyte is largely unknown, except for boxing circles in Britain. This is his big chance to make it and retire Fury.
“It’s a victory by all necessary means,” Whyte said. “I’m not afraid to take risks, I’ve risked my whole life, so it’s nothing new. I’m ready for rock and roll.”