Tyson Fury maintained his WBC heavyweight title when he brutally and clinically stopped Dillian Whyte at the Wembley Stadium on Saturday night near the end of the sixth round. After a complicated and often ugly duel, which Fury controlled, even though both fighters were reprimanded by the referee for a tough fight, the champion led the duel to a terrible end. He started another left point, and then, when Whyte was suddenly open and vulnerable, Fury uncorked the cruel right upper cut.
It was a devastating blow, reminiscent of the frostbite Alexander Povetkin had knocked out Whyte in August 2020. This time, however, Whyte did not faint, despite losing a tooth and bearings. He staggered to his feet, but in an attempt to reach referee Mark Lyson, he got tangled up and tripped. Lyson had no choice but to wave over the fight, because Whyte was clearly separated from his senses.
Whyte came out of the box like a jihpaw, but Fury remained vigilant and preferred to stab sometimes and take a sharp combination. The challenger often tried to stab Fury into a relatively fleshy body, but the difference in class was obvious. Fury also switched back and forth from Southpaw to his more orthodox style. Whyte struck a few big shots, but few of them approached the landing and seemed to intend to turn the fight into a brawl.
By the end of the third, when his face was stained with Vaseline, Whyte already seemed to be breathing hard in his corner. Fury, meanwhile, was calm and composed as he listened to instructions from his coach, Sugarhill Steward.
Both fighters were warned in the fourth after a head-on collision, which opened a small blow over Whyt’s right eye. Lyson brought them to the center of the ring at the beginning of the fifth round to tell them bluntly that they had to avoid any unclean tactics. Each man struck the body, but the greater precision of Fury’s work behind his stabbing and combinations was obvious.
Tyson Fury with his belts after the fight. Photo: Andrew Couldridge / Action Images / Reuters
And then, late at six, Whyte’s hopes were dashed. The champion’s excellent abilities, sheer size and striking power were too much for him.
Fury never lost in a long career that began in December 2008 and this was his 33rd professional match. At six feet nine, he’s five inches taller than Whyte and has an even bigger seven-inch lead. He also has fast legs, a genuine ring, and a finisher instinct that defeated Whyte on a crushing night for a Jamaican-born Londoner.
Steward and Andy Lee, one of the most impressive young coaches in Britain and Ireland, have had a profound impact on Fury’s corner. In the last two years, they have turned Fury into a much more effective and resilient striker. This latest knockout came straight from the wild heart of Kronk Gym in Detroit, where Sugarhill and Lee spent so many years together under the inspirational guidance of the great Emanuel Steward. Knockouts have always mattered – and now they matter and even define Fury as the best heavyweight in the world.
Whyte tried to upset Fury, who is a master of boxing mind games, by staying quiet and fleeting throughout the protracted fight. While outraged as his £ 41,025,000 wallet cut was reduced to 20%, Whyte hoped to disrupt Fury by refusing to join him before the match. But a decent idea, because Fury is so adept at stabbing his opponents, proved limited in crowded Wembley, where the vast majority of the 94,000 crowd supported the acclaimed Gypsy King. Whyte accepted his role as a loser with obvious pleasure, but once Fury took the lead and fought a violent end to the fight, it made no sense.
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Another weak hope that Whyte’s supporters had outnumbered was that Fury would be adversely affected by questions about his previous connection with alleged criminal gang leader Daniel Kinahan. Fury was shaken several times during the week when he was forced to explain their past relationship, but the 33-year-old is always the most at home in the ring. He showed again as he broadcasted Whyte that he almost always had the right answers between the ropes.
Fury promised that this match against Whyte would be his very last. He may surprise us again by keeping his word and settling in undefeated retirement, but he will certainly be tempted to box and meet IBF, WBA and WBO champion Olekasndr Usyk in the unification competition.
Fury, a fighting man from the top of his polished shaved head to the bottom of his huge red boxing boots, will probably not disappoint those who would like to see him in the ring a few more times. His decisive victory late Saturday night ensured that the Gypsy king’s colorful rule would continue for a while.