What the WBC heavyweight world champion and his mandatory challenger must do to be successful Saturday in London.
Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte have been anticipating this day for quite some time. And finally it’s upon us, as Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) will put his WBC heavyweight world title on the line against Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) live from Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday night. The mandatory defense packs plenty of intrigue with ramifications toward a possible undisputed championship clash to follow soon thereafter.
With this much at stake, DAZN News took the time to list and analyze the keys to victory for both fighters.
DILLIAN WHYTE’S KEYS TO VICTORY
GET INSIDE, RIP THE BODY
To get within Fury’s seven inches of reach advantage, Whyte must close space and get inside. Easier said than done as Fury’s jab is one of the best in the business. Not to mention, there’s not a more slippery six-foot-nine heavyweight on the planet, only compounding Whyte’s challenge. But every moment Whyte is able to work his way into the phonebooth with Fury, he must bash the champ’s body. Doing so will negate Fury’s elusiveness and keep Whyte away from that jab. Plus, that body work could pave the way for Whyte to detonate more meaningful shots upstairs.
TAKING CALCULATED RISKS WHEN FURY TRIES TO HOLD
‘The Body Snatcher’ needs to let his hands fly Saturday night before 90,000-plus raucous fans at Wembley. If Whyte is successful getting inside early, Fury may reach out and try to hold. In that transition is where the WBC champion can find himself susceptible to a compact hook or even an uppercut if timed right. When Fury reached out and tried to grab Deontay Wilder in their third fight back in October, Wilder greeted him with a right hook that crashed against the Brit’s head and dropped him in a heap. Whyte can look for a similar shot. He used a short left hook to the temple to buzz a six-foot-six Anthony Joshua in their December 2015 fight, so it can be done against a six-foot-nine Fury as well. Whyte can also look to unload an uppercut if Fury advances haphazardly. Punchers have a chance only if they punch! Whyte must be willing to take risks with the way he unleashes his punches.
GET OFF TO A QUICK START
Fury asserting the jab early could spell a long night for Whyte. As he’s fresh during the early rounds, Whyte has got to get off to a quick start, bite down and bring the fight to the champion. Doing so with power could keep Fury out of rhythm and would give Whyte his best opportunity to land the kind of shot that would have the puncher’s chance possibly turn into an upset heard around the world.
TYSON FURY’S KEYS TO VICTORY
JAB, JAB AND JAB SOME MORE
At six-foot-nine with an 85-inch reach, it only behooves Fury to stay on the outside and jab Whyte to death. Keeping Whyte on the end of the stick will prevent the challenger from getting inside and unleashing power shots. Doing so will also empower Fury to begin the process of picking Whyte apart and then piecing together more meaningful power shots himself. Anthony Joshua had success with the jab against Whyte and Fury is a more skilled boxer. So, it’s only right to anticipate the jab being a major weapon for Fury, too.
HOLD, RESET, GET BACK OUTSIDE
There could be moments where Whyte successfully works his way inside. Those instances are where Fury can hold Whyte in the clinch, push him back to reset and return to the outside to pump the jab and power shots behind them. Fury grabs, muscles and leans on opponents with veteran savvy. This mandatory defense shouldn’t be an exception. Plus, it could stifle Whyte’s offense in a major way.
FRUSTRATE WHYTE WITH MOVEMENT
As large of a man that Fury is, he’s incredibly agile and elusive for his size. Slipping out of harm’s way early can be the elixir for Fury to return fire with laser-like accuracy and power. Every punch that Fury evades in style should frustrate Whyte. Possibly even enough for ‘The Body Snatcher’ to gamble. And when he takes risks, Fury can make him pay with the same brand of complex, stinging sweet science that nobody has been able to solve.