Tyson Fury retained his WBC heavyweight crown on Saturday, stopping Dillian Whyte in the sixth round of an all-British fight at a rambunctious Wembley Stadium before repeating his suggestion to retire. Victory for the self-styled ‘Gypsy King’, fighting on British soil for the first time in four years, was seen by 94,000 fans in London – a record post-war British crowd. Unbeaten Fury, 33, said it would be his last fight and announced immediately afterwards: “This could be the final curtain for the Gypsy King. And what a way out.”
After a wary opener, the defending champion took the initiative, controlling the fight and landing a few telltale blows to his opponent’s head and body.
Whyte might have few complaints at the stoppage with just a second remaining before the fight reached the halfway point as he was clearly on unsteady legs after the first significant strike of the fight, a brutal right uppercut from Fury.
The 6ft 9in (206 centimeters tall) Fury was able to use his considerable height and reach the advantage to keep Whyte at bay while the challenger looked clumsy and cumbersome.
Whyte, cut in his right eye after an accidental clash of heads, was first installed as the WBC’s No. 1 contender nearly four years ago but couldn’t come out on top.
“I’m overwhelmed with support,” Fury said. “I can’t believe my 94,000 people came here tonight to see me play.
“I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, ‘Thank you so much to everyone who bought a ticket here tonight or stayed up late to watch it on TV’.”
If Fury goes through with his resignation plan, he would miss the chance to face Oleksandr Usyk – the current WBA, IBF and WBO champion – or fellow Brit Anthony Joshua for the undisputed crown.
No boxer has held all of the world’s major heavyweight belts since Britain’s Lennox Lewis, who became undisputed champion in 1999.
But Fury, now undefeated in 33 fights, appears to be sticking to his guns.
“I promised my lovely wife Paris of 14 years that after the Wilder Three fight that would be it,” he said.
“And I meant it. We had a war. It was a great trilogy. And I meant it. But I was offered to fight at Wembley at home, and I believe I deserved it – that I owed to the fans.”
Jamaican-born Whyte, 34, was greeted with boos as he emerged into the cavernous stadium, dressed in all black.
Excitement levels reached a fever pitch when Fury broke into the accents of Don McLean’s “American Pie,” which accompanied a video montage of his career.
Fury, dressed in a white and red robe and gloves emblazoned with the Cross of St George – England’s flag – sat on a golden throne as fireworks shot into the air before running towards the ring.
After delighting the crowd with his win, he led them in another rendition of “American Pie.”
Fury hailed Whyte as a “warrior”, predicting he would one day be world champion, but said his opponent had met a “great” in the sport.
“I’m one of the greatest heavyweights of all time,” he said. “And unfortunately for Dillian Whyte, he had to face me here tonight. There’s no shame.”
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