Tyson Fury vs. Dillian Whyte: How ‘comeback fighter’ Whyte became a world title contender

Tyson Fury vs. Dillian Whyte: How ‘comeback fighter’ Whyte became a world title contender

Place: Wembley Stadium, London Date: Saturday April 23
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Getting knocked out by your most hated rival has got to hurt, even for a man as steadfast as heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte.

When Anthony Joshua stopped Whyte in the seventh round of their hard-fought fight in 2015, it could have sent the then-prospect down a different path, certainly not to be the title alongside Tyson Fury in a box office Wembley Stadium. closed Saturday evening.

“You think about the AJ fight, he got knocked out in that fight, hanging over that bottom rope – you would never think that man would come back to do what he has,” Dave Coldwell told BBC Sport.

Coldwell, best known for coaching Tony Bellew to world title glory, has cornered Whyte in the past.

Whyte is now a pay-per-view regular, a big draw in a UK scene where true big-money stars are rare. He recovered from two major defeats in his career, against Joshua and then the Russian Alexander Povetkin, and improved steadily with each appearance in the ring.

He challenges for his first world title against Fury.

“Dillian is a comeback fighter,” Coldwell says. “He views defeat as part of a process. As long as you’re always ambitious, always working hard, the results will come. That’s how Dillian got better and became a better fighter.

“A lot of modern fighters, they lose a fight and they lose confidence. They lower their sights, change their goals, because they don’t believe they’ll be the fighter they thought they were.”

‘He never rubbed shoulders’ – How did Whyte improve?

Dillian Whyte hangs over the last rope after being knocked down by Anthony Joshua
Joshua delivered a brutal knockout to rival Whyte in 2015

Whyte was 27 and 16-0 at the time of Joshua’s loss. His bitter rival continued his remarkable rise to become double world champion, while Whyte was tasked with starting all over again.

And he did it again, mostly alongside longtime coach Mark Tibbs. Tibbs guided Whyte to 11 straight wins after losing to Joshua before the Bodysnatcher joined coaches Xavier Miller and Harold Knight.

“Dillian wiped clean after the loss to AJ, got to work and looked for ways to improve,” Coldwell said.

“He never rubbed shoulders. He pursued that WBC mandatory position and although he was mandatory for years, he took great fights which added to his experience, boxing knowledge and ring general. He understand the game better.

Those fights included victories over Derek Chisora, former world champion Joseph Parker and seasoned contender Povetkin. Whyte himself thinks his greatest strength is his fearlessness.

“I came to leave everything in play. I’m used to taking risks and taking risks is nothing to me,” Whyte said. “I’ve had a lot of different fights in different places and fights where I’ve been the underdog. I’ve been through the factory before.”

Others took notice, with Fury coach SugarHill Steward admitting Whyte has gradually become a major threat in the division.

“I think Dillian has grown a lot,” he says. “I see Dillian Whyte’s jab has improved a lot. I’m aware of that and working with Tyson on that.”

“He’s not a particularly talented fighter, but he’s consistent under pressure and has a lot of power. You always have to watch out for Dillian. He can surprise people.”

What is Fury’s team prepared for?

Dillian Whyte poses with his coach Mark Tibbs with his belt
Mark Tibbs joined Whyte’s side after Anthony Joshua’s loss and guided him to 11 straight wins

Although Whyte could be a formidable opponent, the general consensus seems to be that Fury has the ability to train his domestic rival.

The odds may be in Fury’s favor, but Steward says they’ve prepared for an opponent eager to come out on top.

“I think it’s Dillian’s strength and build that makes him dangerous,” Steward said.

“He’s a strong man. He can get close to anyone. You have to try to keep your distance, but he gets close to everyone. It’s not like he can’t do it, he could do it.

“He has a good shot at getting close to anyone. He’s also strong inside. When he’s close, he’s strong and that’s how he catches everyone, inside. with a big hit.

“We worked hard to have total control. That’s the game plan, to have total control, period,” he added.

“We can show more of who Tyson Fury really is.”

Whyte can win a ‘shootout’ with Fury

Tyson Fury poses with Frank Warren and a large photo of Diliian Whyte during a press conference
Fury defends his WBC title against Whyte

Fury is undefeated in 32 fights. Three fights with Deontay Wilder saw “the Gypsy King” show nearly every side of himself, from nimble boxer to knockout artist to brawler.

But Coldwell thinks that while Fury is undefeated, he hasn’t always looked unbeatable.

“Tyson looked fantastic in the second fight with Wilder, but the third fight technically he looked terrible,” he explains. “If Dillian can drag him into that kind of fight, then it’s a shootout. You don’t know who’s going to win in a shootout.”

Whyte, who was able to avenge the second loss of his career to Povetkin in his last fight in March 2021, insists Fury is not as special as advertised.

“He’s a very good fighter. He’s the only one in our time to have won all the titles – he’s a top fighter, undefeated, great guy, but I don’t see him the way everyone else sees him. sees, like he’s the white 6ft 9in Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier mix reborn – I don’t see it that way,” he says.

Although Coldwell is leaning towards a win for Fury, the British coach says Whyte has the tools to stop Fury.

“Dillian’s not going to come out and send Tyson Fury out,” Coldwell said.

“Dillian is a great body hitter. He’s the Bodysnatcher. He’s got vicious punches. I think he has to do it in this fight. If he can do it in this fight, that’s key. When he changes it, he has a lightning left hook.

“But his feet have to be within reach and that’s where the difficulty of the fight lies. It’s whether he can get his feet within reach and if he can’t, that’s a very difficult.”

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