Dillian Whyte’s dreams of winning the WBC world heavyweight title were left in tatters as he was stopped in the sixth round by Tyson Fury at Wembley Stadium.
The challenger, from Brixton, had started to look heavily fatigued after the first few rounds as the champion’s superior quality was clear for all to see.
Fury landed a right uppercut to drop Whyte heavily and although the South Londoner beat the count he was clearly badly stunned and the referee Mark Lyson waved the contest over with less than a second remaining in the sixth round.
It was completely the right call. Even if Whyte had been allowed the minute’s break, it would only have prolonged the inevitable and left him at risk of serious damage.
The pre-fight betting odds had Fury as a red-hot favourite and the bout played out exactly like that.
Whyte did have one surprise in store for his opponent as he started the first round out of the southpaw stance. But he reverted to orthodox after that and Fury picked him off – using his superior reach advantage to good effect – and then tied up Whyte whenever he got in close.
Some of the rounds were scrappy and Lyson halted the fight on a couple of occasions to give both men a pep talk about keeping the action cleaner.
The pair were boxing in front of a sell-out crowd of 94,000.
Fury said: “I’m overwhelmed with the support. I can’t believe that my 94,000 countrymen and women have come here tonight to see my perform. I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much to every single person who bought a ticket here tonight or stayed up late to watch it on TV.
“Dillian Whyte is a warrior. And I believe that Dillian will be a world champion. But tonight, he met a great in the sport. I’m one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. And unfortunately for Dillian Whyte, he had to face me here tonight. There’s no disgrace. He’s a tough, game man. He’s as strong as a bull. He’s got the heart of a lion. But you’re not messing with a mediocre heavyweight. You’re messing with the best man on the planet. And you saw that tonight with what happened.”
“I also want to say this man here, Sugar Hill Steward, he made a great fighter. Years ago, used to jib and jab, touch and slide. But you’ve seen me here tonight. Sugar, what a legend you are, mate. You’ve made me the biggest puncher in the heavyweight division, by a mile. This man is the best trainer in all of boxing. He’s better than anybody. We were unbelievable tonight.”
Fury once again insisted he will retire.
“I promised my lovely wife Paris of 14 years that after the Wilder III fight, that would be it. And I meant it. We had a war. It was a great trilogy. And I meant that. But I got offered to fight at Wembley at home, and I believe that I deserved—that I owed it to the fans, I owed it to every person in the United Kingdom to come here and fight at Wembley. Now it’s all done. And I have to be a man of my word. And I think this is it.
“This might be the final curtain for the Gypsy King. And what a way to go out! A big thank you to the United Kingdom!”
It remains to be seen if that is Whyte’s last hurrah as well. He earned a career-high payday of £6million and his record dips to 28-3. All three of his defeats have been inside the distance, the other two against Alexander Povetkin and Anthony Joshua.
At the age of 34, not old for a heavyweight, there could be a chance to rebuild for a third time but he will need to work his way back up the rankings. The question is whether he has the appetite to do so.
Bob Arum, chairman of co-promoters Top Rank, said: “Tyson Fury proved his greatness once again. There had never, ever been a heavyweight like ‘The Gypsy King’, and tonight was one of his best performances.”
INSET PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD