Tyson Fury-Dillian Whyte weigh-in, Wembley.
AFTER an extraordinary build-up to the biggest world heavyweight championship contest staged on British soil, Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte put their worries behind them, their clothes on the floor and stepped foot on the scales ahead of tomorrow’s showdown at Wembley Stadium.
Fury, the champion, weighed 264 3/4lbs and looked in tremendous shape by his standards with definition on his chest and shoulders.
Whyte came in at 253 1/4lbs, six pounds heavier than his last bout – the four round demolition of Alexander Povetkin in their March 2021 rematch.
“I’m fighting a bigger heavier guy so I wanted to be a little bit [heavier myself],” explained Whyte, 28-2 (19).
The rivals go back a long way, as friends and sparring partners. For now, the respect remained. They danced together, laughed together and even exchanged caps on stage at BoxPark, Wembley where fans crammed in to watch their final meeting before they clash inside the ring.
“Don’t let all this [good feeling] fool you, we are ready to go to war,” warned 34-year-old Whyte. “I’ve trained hard, I’m ready, I feel fit, I’m ready to go.”
Fury showed no ill-effects from the Daniel Kinahan controversy that threatened to overshadow the days building up to the “Gypsy King’s” first fight in the UK since 2018.
“I’m back, I’m mother f**king back,” roared the 33-year-old Fury, who insists this will be his last fight. His jovial demeanour was a sharp contrast to the eves of battle against three-fight rival, Deontay Wilder. Their third contest, which ended in an 11th round KO for Fury in October, came after Tyson weighed his heaviest at 277lbs.
“Deontay Wilder’s team were hostile towards us but Dillian Whyte’s team are respectful towards us,” explained Fury. “I wanted to make the most of the training camp and make the most of the occasion with it being my last fight… I’m so happy to be back here fighting in the UK at Wembley Stadium. Thank you to you [the fans] for making it happen. I want to thank Dillian Whyte and his team, we’re going to put on a f**king show. It’s going to be a war, don’t worry about that.”
Beating Tyson Fury is a conundrum thus far unsolved in 32 attempts. David Haye, the former world cruiserweight champion and heavyweight belt-holder who was supposed to fight Fury on two occasions, vividly remembers preparing for the 6ft 9ins Fury. Injury ruled Haye out in both 2011 and 2013, and he believes that the left hook to the body – a shot that Whyte is adept at throwing – could be a key to doing what the likes of Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder could not.
“It was not allowing Tyson Fury’s physical size to be a factor in the fight,” Haye told Boxing News about his old gameplan to beat Fury. “Not allowing his long arms to come into play, forcing him to feint, forcing him to get out of his rhythm. To do that you have to have a staccato, unorthodox rhythm… When he’s feinting, when he’s a bit awkward, it’s hard to set up any kind of attack when you’re facing someone like that.
“When I was training to fight Tyson Fury, it was lots of feints, lots of head work, throwing crisp sharp shots that would land and then be in a position to work a second phase of punches. When he moves back, that’s the second phase of attack. The first phase is to set him up, the second phase is to do the damage.
“Maybe throw a one-two, then push him back, then throw a one-two, left hook to the body with the emphasis being on that left hook to the body. Force him to do something, force him into his defensive zone and from there, pick strategic combinations that you believe he will duck or ride into. When he goes backwards in one line, he does this thing where he goes up and then down, so you throw a one-two then he’ll expect the left hook so you throw an uppercut instead.”
Since operating in and around world class, Whyte has tended to be around 250lbs. Most recently, he was 247 1/4lbs when he flattened Alexander Povetkin in four rounds in March 2021. His heaviest was in December 2019 when he weighed 271lbs for a late-notice, and sluggish, 10-rounds points decision win over Mariusz Wach in Saudi Arabia. He’s steadily been growing since his early days in the professional code; for his third fight, a victory over Toni Visic in December 2011, he recorded his lowest weight – 226 3/4lbs.
The champion’s weight has fluctuated throughout his career; he was at his lightest – 245 1/2lbs – back in July 2012 when he stopped Vinny Maddalone in five rounds. In more noteworthy outings, Fury weighed 247lbs before boxing on his toes to decision Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 and 256 1/2lbs for the first Wilder showdown, that ended in a draw, in December 2018.
READ MORE: Fury-Whyte – who wins?