In the land where modern boxing was born from the drafting of the Queensberry rules in 1867, a fight that will be played supremacy in the queen category of pugilism will draw a crowd this Saturday that has never before gathered around a ring in the United Kingdom: Tyson Fury will expose his World Boxing Council scepter before Dillian Whyte at Wembley, which will be packed with 94,000 people. The evening can be seen through ESPN 2 from 3:00 p.m.
The expectation is great for this fight whose organization was left in the hands of promoter Frank Warren after winning the auction with a record bid of 30 million pounds ($41 million). On March 2, 89,000 tickets went on sale, which sold out in just 90 minutes. Then the capacity of the stadium was expanded to 94,000 seats. And the interest is not limited to the United Kingdom: in the United States, the billboard can be seen in cinemas of different chains, as was the case with the great fights in the 1970s.
All this despite the fact that Fury will not star this Saturday in the duel that the British public anxiously awaited for five years, against fellow Englishman Anthony Joshua; nor the clash that would consecrate an undisputed champion of the highest division, against the Ukrainian Oleksandr Usykmonarch recognized by the World Boxing Association, the International Boxing Federation and the World Boxing Organization (and winner of Joshua last September).
The magnetism of the undefeated champion of the Council justifies much of the expectation. Added to this is that this presentation will mark his return to his country after almost four years of absence and after five fights in the United States, including the three he starred in with Deontay Wilder (he tied the first and won the other two with spectacular definitions) . As if that weren’t enough, he gypsy king He had warned months ago that this would be his last role as a rented boxer and this week he ratified it.
“I am not going to change my decision. Both Joshua and Usyk had their chance to face me in the past. I will not wait for anyone. I am not for games. I am happy with what I have done and this will be my last fight”, Fury emphasized in an interview with ESPN. And he left the door open to move from the ring to the octagon before the final goodbye: did not rule out a clash with Cameroonian Francis Ngannouheavyweight mixed martial arts champion recognized by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
After dethroning Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, remaining inactive for two and a half years and emerge from an abyss that included problematic consumption and suicidal intentionsthe Manchester champion defeated every man in front of him until stretching his record to 31 wins (only tainted by the draw against Wilder that later came twice) and was always willing to accept any challenge.
The clash with Joshua, which has been talked about ad nauseam in these years, was agreed for August last year in Saudi Arabia, but a legal claim by Wilder forced Fury to face him for the third time in October and left that duel in we will see. To top, AJ gave up their crowns to Usyk in September and now the rematch between the two is brewing (which was contemplated in the contract they signed before the first fight), so the unification between the Ukrainian and the gypsy king it also looks far away.
Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte, face to face and smiling at Wembley. (Photo: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters)
Without much desire to continue waiting, Fury will give a chance to a man who has been waiting patiently for three years as number one in the WBC ranking.. Born 34 years ago in Port Antonio, Jamaica, but living since he was 12 with his mother in Brixton, South London, Whyte will face the most profitable commitment (he will earn 6 million pounds) and the most demanding of a sports career that will saved my skin.
After an adolescence in which he became a father at the age of 13 and was stabbed three times and shot twice (“I’m a survivor”acknowledged a few days ago), the Villain He practiced kickboxing (he became British heavyweight champion) and mixed martial arts before turning to amateur boxing in 2009. He debuted as a professional in 2011 and since then has had 28 wins (19 before the limit) and two losses. And he also had to serve a two-year suspension, between 2012 and 2014, for having tested positive in an anti-doping control (dimethylamylamine, a prohibited stimulant, was detected in his sample).
His two missteps were against Joshua (whom he had beaten as an amateur) in December 2015, four months before AJ win his first world title, and against Alexander Povetkin, who gave him a chilling knockout in August 2020 and with the interim WBC title on the line. In March of last year, in his last presentation, Whyte took revenge against the Russian veteran, defeating him in the fourth round and thus earning the right to challenge Fury, with whom he was sparring in 2013.
“This fight means everything to me. I remember where I come from and what I’ve been through. So when the bell rings, I will do everything possible to become a champion, ”said the challenger on Wednesday during a remarkably cordial press conference, only altered by a skirmish between the two work teams that the fighters were in charge of appeasing.
“Fury is unpredictable and I will have to be able to adapt to what he does. I am not afraid to take risks, this is nothing new for me,” she added.
also the champion he was kind and respectful to his rival, with whom he had exchanged insults and insults for years. “Dillian is a good fighter, he is big, strong, tough, brave and has knocked out a lot of guys. He definitely deserves a lot of respect and that’s what I’ve given him. I trained for a big fight, so he will be fighting the best Tyson Fury,” he assured.
only the gypsy king he knows for sure if Saturday’s will be his farewell. If it happens, the goodbye will be accompanied by a crowd never seen in a country that has become accustomed to large gatherings, although it will not approach the 135,132 people who gathered in Milwaukee’s Juneau Park on August 16, 1941 to see the fight. between Tony Zale and Billy Pryor nor to the crowds gathered by Julio César Chávez and Greg Haugen in 1993 at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca (132,247) or Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney in 1926 at Philadelphia’s Sesquicentennial Stadium (120,557) .
In the last decade, Anthony Joshua was the great magnet for the British public. The former champion appeared several times in football stadiums and drew crowds in his duels against Wladimir Klitschko (90,000) and Alexander Povetkin (80,000) at Wembley, against Joseph Parker (75,000) at the Cardiff Millennium and against Oleksandr Usyk (66,000) in Tottenham Stadium. Also at Wembley, 80,000 people watched Carl Froch’s 2014 rematch with George Groves for the WBA and IBF super middleweight titles. Now the temple of the ball will open its doors to Fury and Whyte.