World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has retained his WBC title with a brutal sixth-round stoppage of fellow Briton Dillian Whyte in front of more than 94,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
A right uppercut from Fury sent Whyte to the canvas and the champion raised his right hand in celebration. Whyte, who appeared to lose a tooth from the mighty punch, got to his feet and tried to show he was ready to continue but then staggered, leading the referee to end the fight.
Fury toyed with Whyte for much of a cagey fight, with Whyte — the long-time mandatory challenger — mostly reckless with some big, wayward shots.
It was a 32nd win for the undefeated Fury, who defended his WBC belt for the second time and has talked of retiring at the age of 33.
Before giving the biggest ever capacity for a boxing bout in Britain a now-familiar post-fight rendition of Don McLean’s “American Pie,” Fury — one of boxing’s most colourful and controversial characters — suggested he would stick to a pre-fight vow to hang up his gloves.
“I have to be a man of my word, and I think this might be the final curtain for the Gypsy King, and what a way to go out, Fury said in the ring, with his WBC and Ring Magazine belts around his shoulders.
It certainly was. The punch that ended the fight with a few seconds to go in the sixth came pretty much out of nowhere, with Fury in control of the fight without truly exerting himself.
Whyte had been starting to breathe heavier in what proved to be the final round, by which time he had a cut around his right eye — potentially from a clash of heads.
The fifth round was dominated by Fury, with a body shot and then a straight right rocking Whyte back and getting the crowd going.
“He is as strong as a bull and has the heart of a lion,” Fury said of Whyte, who was his former sparring partner from 2012-13.
“But tonight he met a great in the sport, one of the greatest heavyweights of all time.
“I think, even Lennox Lewis would be proud of that uppercut.”
If he does retire, Fury will go down as the greatest British heavyweight, surpassing Lewis.
What might make him continue is the chance to be the undisputed champion from what could be a hugely lucrative bout against Oleksandr Usyk or Anthony Joshua.
Usyk beat Joshua last September to take the WBA, IBF and WBO belts and is preparing for a rematch with Joshua after leaving his native Ukraine, where he was helping his country in the war with Russia.