Undefeated heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) will defend his WBC world title for the second time on Saturday night when he takes on Dillian Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) at Wembley Stadium in London.
It's a blockbuster event, with 94,000 fans expected to pack into the stadium to witness the all-British heavyweight duel.
Whyte, 34, is the mandatory challenger for the WBC crown. This is his first chance at a proper world heavyweight title, a long-overdue opportunity considering he first won the WBC's interim world title in 2019.
Fury, 33, has been the WBC titleholder since beating Deontay Wilder in seven rounds in Feb. 2020. The "Gypsy King" knocked out Wilder again last year to defend the belt and now looks to do the same against Whyte.
Fury vs. Whyte Fight Info
When: Saturday, April 23 at 2 p.m. ET (main card, approx. 5 p.m. ET for main event)
Where: Wembley Stadium in London
Live stream: ESPN+ pay-per-view ($69.99)
Odds: Fury -550 (bet $550 to win $100), Whyte +400 (bet $100 to win $400)
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
The 33-year-old has said he will retire after facing Whyte, though not everyone is convinced. If he wins, some feel he may be tempted to take on the winner of the Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua rematch and try to unify the four major titles. A loss could also tempt him into a rematch.
Whether it's Fury's final showdown or not, there's no doubting the entertainment potential of this matchup. Fury is a big, agile pugilist who can fight behind the jab or string together power punches, while Whyte is an aggressive, skilled brawler with knockout power.
“The fans are in for a real treat," Fury said in his pre-fight press conference. "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."
There's little reason to doubt those words. Fury's fights against Wilder were highly entertaining, with the most recent bout seeing both men hit the canvas before Fury ended things with a clean right hand in the seventh round. Fury has the biggest bag of tricks in the division, but he's proved to be vulnerable at times. Wilder knocked him down in two different fights, and Otto Wallin managed to cut Fury and make things difficult for him in 2019.
It's those lapses in defense that Whyte will have to capitalize on if he wants to become champion. "The Body Snatcher" is coming off a knockout win over Alexander Povetkin In March 2021, avenging a stoppage loss to the Russian a year prior. He's also stopped the likes of Dereck Chisora and Lucas Browne, and he was the first fighter to visibly stun Joshua in 2015 (though Joshua's chin has since proved to be quite vulnerable).
Whyte has a solid resume, but he's well aware of the challenge the ultra-talented Fury presents.
“He might decide he wants to box or he wants to fight, so I need to be able to adapt and do my thing, and keep adapting to whatever he does. That's what it takes to win the fight. I'm just going to envision being able to adapt quickly and make the decision when I need to make it," Whyte said.
Adaptability is key, as a one-dimensional approach would be a disaster for Whyte. That was Wilder's shortcoming, as he was all too reliant on the supreme knockout power in his right hand. Wladimir Klitschko too seemed bereft of ideas when he struggled to get the jab going against a constantly-moving Fury back in 2015, the fight that saw Fury become world heavyweight champion for the first time.
If Fury wants to attack, Whyte has to rough him up and land punches to the body. If Fury wants to box on the outside, then it's again on Whyte to cut off the ring and find a way to connect with his power punches.
This will all prove to be exceedingly difficult for the challenger. Fury has a much longer reach (85" to 78", per BoxRec), faster hands and better defensive skills. He can also go for the knockout blow himself, as both of Whyte's losses have come via stoppage. Anything can happen in the heavyweight ranks, and if Whyte pulls off an upset, he'll have deserved it. But on Saturday, don't be surprised if Fury once again proves to be a level or two above his competition.
Prediction: Fury by late-round knockout
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