The Friday Faceup

British heavyweights ready to rumble.

It’s here !

The lineal heavyweight championship of the world tracing back to the 1880’s is finally up for grabs in London, England tomorrow (Saturday) night. Champion Tyson ‘Gypsy King’ Fury faces Dillian ‘Body Snatcher’ Whyte before 94,000 people at Wembley Stadium and tuning in will be a worldwide audience on pay-per-view in the UK, the USA and, numerous international steaming outlets.

This afternoon at a packed Boxpark on the boulevard to Wembley Stadium both fighters weighed in before the media and boisterous ticket entry crowd.

Fury will defend his The Ring magazine title along with the WBC crown (one quarter of the sanctioning belts up for grabs). But, everyone knows that the Gypsy King from Morecambe Bay, Lancashire, England is the true heavyweight champion, at least for one more night anyway.

Fury (31-0-1, 22 KO’s) took to the scales second, weighing in at 263lbs, 13oz (18st, 8lbs), approximately one stone lighter than his trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder last October. Whyte (28-2, 19 KO’s), the mandatory contender for his WBC title, weighed in a solid 253lbs, 4oz (18st), a little heavier than his last contest against Russian Alexander Povetkin. Both combatants showed respect to each other and even shared a joke and jig or two. Come tomorrow night they will dance to a different tune.

So, what can we expect ? Fury is by far the bigger man and this was evident as they faced off. In response, Whyte has put on the additional poundage that will attempt to negate that advantage when they come into the clinches. The champion is known for his excellent jab using his long arms, his ring generalship and backed up by solid power. To prevail, the challenger will have get inside early, find and work the champion’s softer torso and use his toughness to force the champion into a dog fight. The 34 year old Londoner has improved considerably in recent years and now has a sound technique to back up his undoubted streetfighting skills. He won’t be overwhelmed by his 33 year old opponent’s physical advantages or his championship experience.

Both fighters are familiar with each others strengths and weaknesses having sparred numerous rounds ten years ago and coming through the British fight scene together. Despite the record attendance expected, neither will be overawed by the magnitude of the occasion. Both are fighting men and have top level stadium experience.

Whyte, considered the B-side to this historic contest, much to his disdain and quite frankly an insult to his legitimacy, comes into the fight in shape and confident in his ability. Being interviewed by BT Sport shortly after the weigh-in he said “We(‘re) ready to go to war. I’m ready, I feel fit, let’s go !”

Fury, equally bouyant responded with “I’m back !” and re-iterated his amazement to the fans response to the event and the successful training camp that he’d had “I want to take it all in, with it being my last one” – referring to his pre-fight comments on this being his final fight. That is unlikely to be the case, but who can doubt what the ‘Gypsy King’ will do win, lose or even draw.

What we do know is if this retirement happens, then boxing will be poorer for it. The champion has lit up the sport along with other heavyweights, most notably Anthony Joshua for almost a decade and only they could fill Wembley Stadium for such an event. But, let’s savour what we have here tomorrow – a legitimate fight for the heavyweight championship of the world between two excellent boxers and a sold out arena to boot.

The Undisputed sees the fight delivering on the hype with an excellent contest, that will swing one way and another, and with knockdowns registered by both fighters. However, we expect the superior chin and ringcraft of the champion to prevail over the twelve rounds with a hard fought but unanimous points decision. When the dust finally settles the Gypsy King will hold onto his titles and move onto his next challenge. It may be some time coming though if his pre-fight retirement comments are to be believed.

The event is televised in the UK on BT Sport Box Office and ESPN+ pay-per-view in the USA. It is co-promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. and Queensberry Promotions fronted by Frank Warren in the UK.

Ring entrances to the main event should start from 10pm (UK time) and the fight is also available live on TalkSport radio. Enjoy !

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