Tyson Fury promises ‘war’ in WBC heavyweight title defence against Dillian Whyte

Tyson Fury promised a “war” when he defends his WBC heavyweight title against Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium despite more light-hearted exchanges between the pair on the eve of their showdown.

While the duo have been critical towards each other on social media for years, fight week has been remarkably cordial and restrained, and the bonhomie continued at Friday’s weigh-in at BOXPARK Wembley.

After Fury scaled 18st 12lbs and 13oz – 12lbs lighter than when he defeated Deontay Wilder in their epic trilogy contest six months ago – he and Whyte were in playful spirits at the final stare down.

Tyson Fury, right, and Dillian Whyte were in playful mood at Friday's weigh-in (Nick Potts/PA)
Tyson Fury (right) and Dillian Whyte were in playful mood at Friday’s weigh-in (Nick Potts/PA)

The 6ft 9in Fury emphasised his five-inch height advantage by standing on his tip-toes while Whyte, who came in at 18st 1lb and 4oz, played along by crouching down before they shook hands and traded caps.

They briefly danced on stage alongside one another as the music blared, having turned to face the assembled crowd, although a fired-up Fury insisted matters would be more serious when they next meet.

“I’m so happy to be back here (in the UK) fighting at Wembley Stadium,” said Fury, who was afforded a hero’s welcome on his entrance although Londoner Whyte was initially booed on to the stage.

“Respect to Dillian Whyte and his team, proper professional men, and we’re going to give you a real fight.

“Don’t doubt us, we’re going to put a show on like no other before.

“It’s going to be a war, don’t worry about that.”

Fury – who has suggested on more than one occasion in the build-up that he will retire after Saturday night, irrespective of the outcome – is fighting on UK soil for the first time since August 2018.

The 33-year-old (31-0-1, 22KOs) has had five successive bouts in the United States since then, including three against Wilder, winning twice and drawing once, to become world champion again.

In his last two bouts against Wilder, Fury weighed well in excess of 19st as he showcased his devastating power, particularly last October when he stopped the American in the 11th round.

But by coming in almost a stone lighter 24 hours before facing Whyte in front of an estimated 94,000 crowd – a post-war British record – Fury might look to outbox rather than overpower Whyte.

Fury has already hinted he could switch to a southpaw stance – as he did earlier in his career against Martin Rogan in 2012 and in his rematch versus Derek Chisora two years later – in a bid to counteract the power of Whyte, who has won 28 of his 30 professional contests, 19 inside the distance.

“I have been practising as a southpaw in camp,” added Fury.

“I might switch. I think Dillian Whyte is very susceptible to a southpaw. He hasn’t fought many. It takes away his left hook. That is his number one punch.”

Whyte was first installed as the WBC’s number one contender four years ago but has kept improving since then, refusing to rest on his laurels and take on opponents against whom he would be heavily favoured.

Whyte, right, has beaten dangerous fighters, including Joseph Paker, left, in recent years (Nick Potts/PA)
Whyte, right, has beaten dangerous fighters, including Joseph Paker, left, in recent years (Nick Potts/PA)

Instead he has seen off the likes of dangerous Joseph Parker and Oscar Rivas in recent years before avenging his defeat to Alexander Povetkin by stopping the Russian in his last bout 13 months ago.

“Nothing is worth this wait, but we are here,” said Whyte. “I’m not someone who really complains or cries about things, but I should have had my title shot at least two years ago.

“I’m two years more seasoned, I have been through ups and down in those two years, so I am more mature as a person and a fighter.

“Maybe two years ago it wouldn’t have been as big as it is now, so in another way it could be worth the wait.”