Fury v Whyte washup – Five things we learned
- Size and skills pay the bills – Tyson ‘Gypsy King’ Fury in successfully defending his lineal world heavyweight championship on Saturday emphasized the importance of having strong boxing fundamentals, and without doubt, the importance of size. His challenger Dillian Whyte came in a stone heavier than his previous contest in an attempt to not get bullied, and somehow negate the champion’s 6’9″ frame and 7″ reach advantage. This proved futile. When the champion’s size is combined with an exquisite skillset and he fights to a gameplan it’s almost impregnable. Fury dominated the fight from start to finish, one judge and The Undisputed having him five rounds up by the time of the 2:59 stoppage in the sixth. Whyte was disappointing given the time he waited for the title shot and after failing to befuddle the champion in the opening round by fighting out of a southpaw stance, then reverted to orthodox for the remainder and although having some minor success simply plodded towards Fury without any real penetration or clue how to get inside. The champion using his sublime jab and ring savvy was able to absorb what the challenger had to offer and maintain an element of control throughout. Bar the dirty infighting and rabbit punches in the fourth, which both fighters received a warning for, this was a routine defence for Fury. It was capped with a devastating left jab, right uppercut combination that was reminiscent of a young Mike Tyson or latter day Rocky Marciano.
- Box Office/Pay-per-view is getting worse – Having again failed to secure press accreditation to cover the fight, I like many others, shelled out the £24.95 for the BT Sport Box Office transmission. True, most tune in for the main event only and although not very competitive it did not disappoint as a spectacle of Tyson Fury’s skills and the atmosphere in the 94,000 Wembley Stadium sell out was terrific. But, oh that undercard ! With the exception of the excellent featherweight contest between Isaac Lowe and Nick Ball the full night’s card was extremely disappointing. The chief support between British welterweight champion Ekow Essuman and Darren Tetley was competitive, but an absolute snore, and not befitting of the occasion. This has become a regular occurrence with events we’re stumping up additional funds for, on top of our monthly subscriptions. Those in attendance admittedly had a great time with the sound system and in the bars, but hardcore boxing fans would’ve felt somewhat cheated. Long gone are the days of Don King promotions where world title fights were backed and stacked with other world title fights on the undercard. Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. also have a long history of providing similar VFM, but on Saturday this was poor. Surely the co-promoters had fighters in their stable that could’ve added to the occasion in competitive and more marquee fights. PPV’s seem to now hang on one main event and the rest of the cards need to improve to keep boxing relevant.
- The ‘R’ word comes up again – Boxer’s career “retirements” have always been an element leading into fights, or in the immediate aftermath, but in a week when Ricky Hatton states his intention to comeback, albeit in an exhibition, aged 43 having not boxed for ten years, the announcement by Fury that this was his last fight has to be taken with a pinch of salt. The Gypsy King has improved his log to 32-0-1 (23 KO’s) and is widely regarded as heavyweight king and a contender for top ten of all time, but does anyone think he won’t continue ? At only 33 it’s extremely unlikely he will call it a day.
- Nobody does it better – All box office records were reputedly broken on Saturday for a heavyweight championship fight. The British boxing public once again showed out in their masses and images of the Wembley Arch were magnificent with the atmosphere generated in the stadium appearing on TV as incredible. When British fighters are successful (and charismatic, as no doubt Tyson Fury is) they will follow their man. Las Vegas resorts/casinos and ‘The Garden’ in New York City are magnificent in their own way as respective homes of the sport and with their illustrious history of memorable contests, but no one does mass boxing turnout like the Brits. On the back of the stadium sell outs for Anthony Joshua and numerous British fighters in recent years, if you want an atmosphere and event come to the UK.
- Legacy – If Tyson Fury is to back up his claim to be the ‘Greatest of All Time’ he has to continue fighting. Financially he doesn’t need to, health wise – particularly mentally – he may now be closer to that safe place where he can continue to enjoy his life and live it to the full with his loving family. However, to back up his claim he will have to continue his boxing career. What that means on the immediate horizon is to fight and defeat the winner of Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua II. The Ukrainian, Usyk, holds three of the world sanctioning body belts and can make a legitimate claim to be the #1 heavyweight in the world. The Gypsy King will have to meet and beat him to continue his path to greatness and universal acceptance. True, as Fury says there will always be someone out there to beat, but his career will be unfinished without those further marquee victories on his record.