You may not know, or maybe you just don't care, but there is a heavyweight title fight taking place this Saturday from Wembley Stadium in the UK, as Tyson Fury defends his WBC title versus his mandatory challenger, Dillian Whyte.
Perhaps because this bout is taking place in Britain, there seems to be large scale apathy in the States regarding this match-up, which will draw a live audience of over 90,000. But on a week where the sports most important title is on the line (and it is Fury, who is the recognized champion in this division), the buzz for this event seems relatively muted.
This has been rather strange promotion beginning with the purse bid that netted a winning offering of over $40 million. Whyte, unhappy with his 20-percent split of that amount, basically boycotted most of this press events that surrounded this fight. That didn't slow ticket sales but there were still rumblings that Fury-Whyte wouldn't take place for whatever reason.
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Fury even went back to talking about retiring after this upcoming battle. This card has been so worn out by the champion he needs to laminate it. Fury has had to face questions bout his relationship with Daniel Kinahan, who is now facing sanctions from the U.S. government for his alleged role in heading a drug cartel.
But alas, both men are in Wembley this week for this all-British heavyweight title tilt, and the final press conference took place on Wednesday.
It's the biggest heavyweight fight to take place in England since Lennox Lewis stopped Frank Bruno in 1993. Whyte is rated fourth by Ring Magazine, while 'the Gypsy King' is their champion. For him, this is his first non-Deontay Wilder bout since 2019. Last fall he engaged in a highly entertaining dust up with Wilder that saw him have get off the canvas to stop 'the Bronze Bomber' in 11.
Coming into this bout, Fury is a 6-to-1 favorite, he is the heavy favorite for a reason. But in the past, we have seen him hit the deck versus a natural cruiserweight in Steve Cunningham, and Fury struggled with Otto Wallin a few years ago.
“We’ve had a great preparation," Fury insisted. "There are never any complaints from me. We always do what we can do in training camps and do the best that we can do on the night. I’m sure Dillian Whyte’s had a great training camp as well. He’s a good fighting man. The fans are in for a real treat. I know Dillian. I know him personally, and he knows me. And we’re going to rock n’ roll on fight night. We’re ready to throw down and treat us all to a hell of a barnstorm.”
Whyte is a solid heavyweight by today's standards. His resume' has victories over Robert Helenius (W12), Joseph Parker(W12), Dereck Chisora(KO11), Oscar Rivas(W12) and he split a pair of bouts against Alexander Povetkin. His only other loss came to Anthony Joshua.
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Fury said of his upcoming foe,“Dillian Whyte is a good fighter. He is a good, strong, solid man. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s tough. He’s game. He’s got good power. He’s knocked out a lot of men. He’s had a good learning career as well. He’s got a lot of experience in the fight game. He’s definitely a man that needs a lot of respect.
"And that’s why I’ve given all this training camp we’ve had. I’ve had everything I can possibly do to train for this. I’ve haven’t left any stones unturned. I’ve trained as hard for Dillian as I have for Wilder or Klitschko."
As for Whtye, who for years was mysteriously bypassed for a title shot despite years being the number one ranked contender by the WBC when Wilder owned this belt, he finally gets his long awaited shot at the title. He insisted that there shouldn't be too much taken from his muted stance leading into fight week.
“There was no strategy. There are two sides to his story. You only hear one side of the story because one side says a lot of things," explained Whyte. "Because I didn’t say anything, everyone was saying ‘you’re scared’ and ‘you’re hiding.' I ain’t scared of sh*t. I ain’t hiding from sh*t. Stuff needed to get done. Obviously, the fight was signed. But there were other things behind the scenes that needed to get signed. Me and Frank got together. Credit due to him as me and my team were trying to pick up the phone for a long time to get stuff done.”
And for Whyte, this may be his first and last chance to win a piece of the heavyweight crown. It's hoped that Fury will go onto face the winner of the rematch between Oleksandr Usyk (who has the other three belts) and Joshua. But Whyte will have something to say about all this.
“It means everything to me to be fighting in my home country, and especially because it’s for the world title at Wembley. It’s not too far from where I’m from. It means everything. It’s massive. It’s a moment I’ve been waiting for. It’s a big fight. Like Tyson said, we didn’t expect to be here. But I’m here, but I’ve taken risks time and time again. I’ve had a couple slipups along the way, but I’m here and I’m ready to go. You won’t hear any bullsh*t from me. I’m ready to go.”
Sometimes you just have to go with the most logical and easy pick -- and in this case it's Fury. There's a reason why he's the significant favorite in this bout. He's the bigger, more versatile fighter of the two, and he does everything a bit better than Whyte inside that ring.
The best hope for Whyte is for him to get inside Fury, and wing a big overhand right as the champion has a momentary lapse. But you wonder if he'll ever get past the long telephone pole jab of Fury. And in recent fights, Fury has become a much bigger version of himself, and become a calculating pressure fighter. If Whyte is forced to back up and give up ground, he has almost no chance of pulling the upset.
Look for a fight where Fury consistently and steadily wears down Whyte to score a 9th round TKO.
'The Three Knockdown Rule' on Triller with Mario Lopez and I is back after a one-week hiatus. We go through everything that has taken place in boxing the last two weeks and preview Fury-Whyte:
This card from Wembley Stadium is a pay-per-view event distributed by ESPN+ PPV which begins at 2 pm, ET/11 am, PT....As for the undercard, well....it could use a Butterbean and Mia St. John to spice it up...The reboot of 'the Wonder Years' on ABC has been excellent...Here's hoping Jerry West gets some justice in how he's being portrayed on HBO's 'Winning Time'....I can be reached at email@example.com....