It’s being billed as the ‘Biggest Fight in British Boxing History’ and one of the biggest bouts of a generation when Tyson Fury meets Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night for the WBC heavyweight crown.
As unified champion Oleksandr Usyk waits in the wings having beaten Anthony Joshua but with his nation embroiled in conflict, the eyes of the boxing world this weekend turn to north London as The Gypsy King defends his title for the first time since his trilogy fight victory over Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas, back in October.
For Whyte meanwhile, here, the Brixton fighter finally gets his shot at WBC gold. Having defeated Dereck Chisora for the first time in their eliminator back in 2016, a deal to fight then champ Wilder could not be agreed, with Whyte forced to bide his time. As Wilder continued to opt for other fights against Luis Ortiz and Dominic Breazeale, Fury then returned to the scene and went in search of the same title he had been forced to relinquish due to inactivity.
As the pandemic then hit, Whyte’s hopes of a title bout were further derailed. Then facing Alexander Povetkin in his first contest post-covid, the Russian stunned Whyte with a fifth-round KO from nowhere, as plans for his long-awaited title match seemingly collapsed.
However, after Whyte dismantled Povetkin in their rematch during March of last year, Whyte and Fury then finally agreed terms in February to fight in front of what is now set to be a record 100,000 fans at Wembley – the largest post-war boxing attendance in the UK.
In what is Fury’s first fight on home soil since defeating Francesco Planeta, the Wythenshawe fighter remains undefeated in 32 fights – a career total of just two more than Whyte, with three more KO wins – with this his second title defence of his current reign.
To date, Whyte’s only other defeat was to Anthony Joshua seven years ago, when the two former sparring partners met for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight belts – AJ of course going on to become unified champion of the division. In the same bout, Whyte was one of the few men to expose Joshua’s balance issues with a clean shot to the side of the head, as Andy Ruiz went on to replicate at Madison Square Garden.
The build-up to this fight was earlier dominated by Whyte’s no-shows to press events, but having kept largely quiet whilst Fury again plays the court jester, is the Londoner playing the perfect game?
Watch BestofBets’ exclusive interview with former featherweight boxer and pundit Barry Jones talking to Jonathan Doidge ahead of the fight https://t.co/lyCSalRaXb
Back both fighters to be knocked down
Unsurprisingly, Fury is the overwhelming favourite currently at a best price of 4/17 with SBK but is more widely 1/6. Whyte on the other hand is 9/2 with SpreadEx and Betway to pull off the upset and inflict a first career defeat on his opponent.
Though a sizeable underdog, Whyte will be no pushover and is highly motivated for his date with destiny, now coming for some 3-4 years.
Fury was largely dominant against The Bronze Bomber in all three trilogy bouts but in each contest was knocked down at least once. Whyte has the power to cause Fury problems even if he cannot force a stoppage so the smart money here could be for both fighters to be knocked down at 7/2 with SkyBet.
Alternatively, for both men to hit the deck and for Fury to win, William Hill’s Bet Builder at 9/2 is worth a visit, or, for Whyte to be knocked down twice or more at 13/10 odds with Betfair.
Just a few days short of five years since Wembley’s last marquee showpiece when Anthony Joshua met Wladimir Klitschko, that particular bout saw four knockdowns, with rounds five, six and 11 the explosive and dramatic footnotes under the arch.
Fury-Wilder III saw a total of five visits to the canvas and with Whyte retaining the power to again put Fury down, could we be in for more fireworks on Saturday night?
Again SkyBet is the place to check out and for three knockdowns to occur, a 5/2 price looks amenable, and a fourth will fetch a healthy 7/1.
If a more cautious fight plays out however, a showdown in the final rounds could be in the offing. For another 11th round climax to play out at Wembley, Fury can be had for a stoppage in the penultimate round at 12/1, whereas Whyte to stun the world late on is on for a mighty 50/1.
*Catch the fight exclusively live in the UK on BT Sport Box Office, or in the US on ESPN PPV.