Tyson Fury sticks Dillian Whyte with long-range jab during their Ring Magazine/WBC heavyweight title bout at Wembley Stadium on April 23, 2022 in London. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images
LONDON – Amid a raucous atmosphere and deafening noise, with approximately 97,000 fans looking on, Tyson Fury successfully defended his Ring Magazine heavyweight championship and WBC title by scoring a spectacular one-punch knockout over Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium. The official time was 2:59.
Fury, who was fighting on UK soil for the first time in two-and-a-half years, caught his man at center ring with a beautifully timed right uppercut. It was a finisher and the challenger crashed to the canvas in a heap as the pro-Fury crowd exploded. Game as they come, Whyte remarkably found his feet but he was done and referee Mark Lyson stopped contest when the Englishman staggered forward several paces.
“Dillian Whyte is a warrior and I believe he’ll be a world champion,” said Fury (32-0-1, 23 knockouts) during his post-fight interview. “Unfortunately, he had to fight me tonight. I’m one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time. Lennox Lewis would have been proud of that right uppercut tonight.”
There was trick play in Round 1 which saw Whyte fight the full three minutes in the southpaw stance. Fury, the renowned switch-hitter of the two, boxed cautiously from the outside in response, jabbing up and down from the orthodox stance and releasing the occasional right while moving laterally.
As expected, Fury established distance and kept Whyte on the outside for long periods. The challenger threw some dangerous bombs but they cut holes through the night air and Fury’s speed and versatility were decisive in the early skirmishes.
“I said this was gonna be an exceptional performance,” Fury said during the post-fight press conference. “I could feel it. My feet were good. My jab was good. I was jabbing the head off him.
“I hit the body snatcher with a left hook to the body and said to him, ‘You’re hurt aren’t you, body snatcher?’ He said, “Yeah….(struggling). I was on fire tonight. I really enjoyed myself.”
The fight got very ugly in the fourth. Both men were guilty of rough stuff on the inside and blood leaked freely from Whyte’s right eye. In between foul-filled exchanges, the fighters were yelling at each other and Fury’s team took the chance to drench Whyte in water when the pair tumbled into the champion’s corner.
With both fighters having been admonished, there was an almost mutual decision to keep the fight long. The problem is that Whyte had no luck at that distance. He tried to close the gap but Fury was too quick and caught him consistently with the left.
The finish was a stunner and an early contender for Knockout of the Year. The promotion is a strong front-runner for Event of the Year.
“What a welcome I had tonight in front of 97,000 fans,” remarked Fury. “I don’t think there’s an entertainer, a sportsman, that can pull that in. “
Doubling down on his pre-fight retirement talk, Fury again said that this may very well be the end of his storied 14-year professional career.
“I told my lovely wife, Paris, after the [Deontay] Wilder 3 fight that I was ready to retire,” said the champion. “I owed this fight to the UK fans.”
The 33-year-old Fury has stated several times during the buildup that this would be his final professional appearance. Are we buying it? I’d venture to suggest that most of us believe he will fight again providing the circumstances are right. A rematch between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk is all but set for the summer, and the winner against Fury is a monster event regardless of who wins.
However, I asked if he was going to relinquish his titles during the post-fight press conference, and the topless champion replied:
“I’ve said what I’ve said and I’m happy with my decision,” said Fury. “I’m going home to wife and kids. I spend a lot of time on the road. I’ve been away a long time. I’m going to retire as only the second undefeated heavyweight champion after Rocky Marciano.
“I’m the two-time Ring Magazine champion. There’s never been another Ring Magazine champion in my era – none of them were able to do it because all roads led to the ‘Gypsy King.’”
I asked, “Is that final?”
“I definitely think so,” was the cryptic answer.
Fury has stated in the past that he will not let the sport take advantage of him. In a storied 14-year professional career, the polarizing Englishman has captured British, Commonwealth, European, IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO and Ring Magazine championships; the latter of which he’s won twice. The self-styled “Gypsy King” was also named The Ring’s Fighter of the Year for 2015 and 2020 (award shared with Teofimo Lopez). All of these accolades may convince Fury that he can walk off into the sunset without a care in the world.
And what of Whyte? The 34-year-old was long overdue a world title shot and had marketed himself into a PPV fighter in the UK long before getting there. Whyte (28-3, 19 KOs) remains a world-rated contender and there are still big fights out there for him.
Tom Gray is managing editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing