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Dillian Whyte determined to prevent Wembley showdown becoming ‘Tyson Fury show’

Dillian Whyte determined to prevent Wembley showdown becoming ‘Tyson Fury show’
The 34-year-old failed to turn up to last month’s announcement press conference but ended his silence this week.

Dillian Whyte has insisted he will not let next week’s world heavyweight title contest become “the Tyson Fury show” after he ended his silence for Thursday’s press conference ahead of the Wembley Stadium showdown.

The Brixton boxer was a no-show at the national stadium on March 1, a week after the all-British bout for April 23 had been agreed after promoter Frank Warren won a record purse bid of 41million US dollars (£30million) to stage the fight.

Whyte, who was first in line for a world title shot in 2017, is understood to only be entitled to 20 per cent of the purse and reportedly turned down the offer of a private jet to fly him in from his Portugal training base for last month’s press conference.

Fury enjoyed the chance to put on a one-man show, but co-promoter Warren labelled mandatory challenger Whyte a “disgrace” only for this week to bring a change in tack from the Londoner, who sent a social media post to promote the bout on Wednesday before he attended Thursday’s virtual press call.

“When these guys are trying to mug me off and treat me like this is the Tyson Fury show, they are going to get certain things corrected, so once things got corrected and we were close to getting them corrected, I am a professional so now here I am,” Whyte explained.

“This is business. It is not the Tyson Fury show. Everybody says Tyson Fury this, Tyson Fury that. If Tyson Fury was the big star, he would have sold out the fights with Deontay Wilder. The fights were never sold out, so this sold out because of me and Tyson Fury.

“It is the Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte show. We are both in the fight together, so certain things need to be done correctly. I don’t dance to no ones tune, I am a warrior and survivor.

“We can dance together but it can’t be one-way traffic, so things needed to be sorted out, things needed to be arranged and had to get done. That is it.”

An almost five-year wait for a world title shot will end for Whyte on St George’s Day when he faces old sparring partner Fury under the arch in Brent.

Fury (33-0-1, 22KOs) remains the overwhelming favourite for the Wembley fight, which is set to take place in front of a record-breaking sporting crowd for the venue of 94,000 spectators.

But Whyte, who last stepped into the ring over a year ago in March 2021 to avenge his defeat to Russian veteran Alexander Povetkin, detailed the motivation behind his pursuit to dethrone the ‘Gypsy King’.

“I am very confident in beating him. It will be good to shut a few people up man,” he added.

“It will mean everything to me. I am a guy who as a kid had no future, no education, no family. I am a survivor. I have been on the streets since I was a child.

“I have come from nothing. I had no backing, no support and I didn’t even go to school, so I did not do sports at school.

“For someone like me to come from where I have come from and to be world heavyweight champion of the world, that is true inspiration. That is real inspiration. Not someone who has come from a boxing family, or someone who has gone to the Olympics and been in the Olympic bubble.

“I was a thug on the street who could knock people out and I decided I can’t afford to go to jail so I need to do something else. So, I did this and got better and better, but I am under no illusions.

“I don’t go around and say I am the greatest. I know what I am and I know what I bring. I have a lot of pain and frustration to take out on someone.”

It is the Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte show. We are both in the fight together, so certain things need to be done correctly. I don’t dance to no one’s tune

Dillian Whyte

Promoter Warren again brought up Whyte’s Wembley no-show at the start of the media call but did admit “hopefully we have now managed to sort those issues out”, before Fury played down any bad blood with his opponent.

This will be Fury’s first UK fight since 2018 and he stressed he would not underestimate the mandatory challenger, who has lost twice in 28 contests.

“Dillian is definitely a top-five heavyweight, for sure. He is the number one ranked WBC contender. He deserves his shot and is getting his shot at the title,” the 33-year-old insisted.

“It was only the announcement press conference, it wasn’t the actual press conference for the fight.”

During Fury’s one-man show at Wembley last month, he suggested the fight on Saturday week could be his last.

But on Thursday he stated: “I am only thinking about Dillian Whyte at this moment, I am not thinking about retirement. That will all come after I have had the fight and we will think about what is to come, what the future holds for me.

“At the minute I have a massive task in Dillian. A lot of people are underestimating Dillian Whyte, but not me.”

Meanwhile, Fury was unable to offer any comment on Daniel Kinahan, a man who has advised the world heavyweight champion in the past but this week was hit with sanctions by the United States government.

A five million dollar reward for information on the Irish Kinahan crime gang that leads to the arrest and conviction of its leaders has been offered by the US authorities but on a Zoom call which had close to 100 attendees, there were no questions on Kinahan and when the subject was raised in the group chat, the moderator insisted Fury had to now leave the call.