Tyson Fury retains world title with brutal victory over Dillian Whyte
Tyson Fury enjoyed a happy homecoming as he retained his WBC heavyweight title with a sensational sixth-round stoppage of British rival Dillian Whyte at a packed out Wembley Stadium.
In his first fight on UK soil since August 2018, Fury was treated to a hero’s welcome by a 94,000 capacity crowd and largely dictated the tempo before ending proceedings in devastating fashion.
A vicious uppercut caught Whyte flush on the chin before he was disdainfully pushed over on to his back, and while the mandatory challenger beat the count, referee Mark Lyson waved off the fight.
Whyte could have few complaints at a halt being called with just one second remaining before the fight reached the midway point as he was clearly on unsteady legs after the bout’s first significant strike.
The 6ft 9in Fury (now 32-0-1, 23KOs) was able to use his considerable height and reach advantage to keep Whyte at bay while the challenger was made to look clumsy and cumbersome in contrast to his foe.
Whyte, cut over his right eye after an accidental clash of heads, was first installed as the WBC’s number one contender nearly four years ago but he was unable to impose himself as he found himself tied up whenever he attempted to close the distance.
Fury has repeatedly suggested in recent weeks that he would end his glittering career and, after treating the crowd to a rendition of Don McLean’s American Pie following his win, he said: “This might be the final curtain for the Gypsy King.”
If this is the finish then a highlight-reel punch in front of a post-war British record crowd is a satisfying climax to the career of a modern great, even if much-anticipated showdowns against WBA, IBF and WBO titlist Oleksandr Usyk or another domestic rival in Anthony Joshua go begging.
Fury has cut a relaxed figure this week, sharing pleasantries and light-hearted exchanges with Whyte when they came face-to-face despite years of back-and-forth bickering on social media.
Indeed the only times Fury bristled was at the mention of his relationship with former advisor Daniel Kinahan, who was last week sanctioned by the US Treasury amid claims of smuggling drugs and money laundering, all of which he denies. Fury says he has “absolutely zero” business with the alleged crime boss.
The matter lingered throughout the build-up and there was speculation about whether the issue would impact Fury’s mindset on the night. If it did, it was not evident after an elaborate and pyrotechnic entrance where he briefly sat on a throne and jogged to the ring on a chilly night in London.
A cagey opening round was only notable for Whyte boxing southpaw, which Fury had suggested he may do in an attempt to nullify his mandatory challenger’s powerful left hook, but it seemed to be early mind games from the Jamaica-born Londoner as the pair settled into orthodox stances in the second round.
Whyte, who in comparison to his opponent was booed to the ring, attempted to exploit Fury’s fleshy midsection but missed the target by a long way with a wild right and had to soak up a couple of one-twos in the second round.
The busier Fury was starting to find his range into the third with another combination drawing gasps from those in attendance and a telling smirk from the fighter himself. While Whyte seemed unfazed, he was unable to mount much of a response.
Both fighters received warnings in a spiky fourth round, with the duo sharing words with Fury seemingly upset he had been hit on the break. Whyte, meanwhile, seemed to be frustrated at Fury’s excessive holding.
Whyte landed a decent left hook in the fourth but could not force the issue as Fury started to look increasingly comfortable, popping off a ramrod jab to unsettle his adversary in the fifth round, six months on from knocking out Deontay Wilder in a memorable third fight between the pair in Las Vegas.
He closed the show in equally unforgettable fashion here, a punch that came from nowhere that brought deafening cheers, to bring an end to Whyte’s first world title challenge. It was his third defeat of a 31-fight career but this was Fury’s night.
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