The 33 years Tyson Fury doesn’t put much stock in what happened during sparring sessions between him and Dillian Whyte many years ago.
The undefeated WBC heavyweight champion has even less faith in the odds he has seen listed for their 12-round title fight Saturday night at Wembley Stadium in London. Most sportsbooks list Fury as at least a 6-1 favorite to beat Whyte, yet even Fury feels their fight will be much more competitive than that.
Having shared the ring with Whyte while sparring and watched Whyte develop as a professional, Fury realizes just how dangerous the former kickboxer and mixed martial artist can be.
“The sparring’s the sparring,” Fury said during a press conference Wednesday in London. “We both helped each other out along the way, and that’s it. I don’t think you can go on what happened 10 years ago. God’s sake, 10 years ago, how old I have been, 24? He’d have been 24 as well because we’re the same age. So, we’re different men today. It’s different versions.
“He’s a lot improved and so am I. So, I think everybody is underestimating how good of a fight this is gonna be. I see these odds and things, and I just laugh at ‘em because they’re obviously coming from people who don’t know boxing. They’re like 7-1, 10-1 odds. This is a heavyweight boxing fight. Anyone can win with one punch, and it’s, ‘Good night, Vienna.’ ”
Whyte was a 4-1 favorite over Alexander Povetkin when the aged former WBA champion unloaded a left hook that knocked Whyte unconscious during the fifth round of their fight for the WBC interim championship in August 2020 at Matchroom Boxing’s headquarters in Brentwood, England. London’s Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) redeemed himself in their immediate rematch, in which he stopped Povetkin (36-3-1, 25 KOs) in the fourth round last March 27 at Europa Point Sports Complex in Gibraltar.
Manchester’s Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) views Whyte as the fighter that dominated Povetkin in their rematch, not the boxer who made a technical mistake and got caught in their first fight. The 6-foot-9, 264¾-pound Fury realizes just how hard the 6-foot-4, 253¼-pound Whyte hits, particularly with his left hook.
“If I’m not on my ‘A’ game, then that man’s gonna knock me head right off me shoulders,” Fury said. “So, I’m gonna have to be preparing good, which I have, and I’m gonna have to be on form to beat him. And so is he, gonna have to perform at his best to beat me. So, I think we’re in for a real treat on Saturday night. And it’s coming quite quickly.”
Fury, 33, and Whyte, 34, will headline a five-fight ESPN Pay-Per-View show in the United States (2 p.m. ET; $69.99). BT Sport Box Office will offer Fury-Whyte as a pay-per-view main event in the United Kingdom and Ireland (6 p.m. BST; £24.95).