Tyson Fury has promised a “war” when he defends his WBC world heavyweight title against Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium, despite the more light-hearted exchanges between the pair on the eve of their showdown.
While the duo have been critical towards each other on social media for years, fight week has been remarkably cordial and restrained, and the bonhomie continued at Friday’s weigh-in at Wembley.
After Fury scaled 18st 12lbs 13oz – 12lbs lighter than when he defeated Deontay Wilder in their epic trilogy contest six months ago – he and Whyte were in playful spirits at the final stare down.
Fury emphasised his five-inch height advantage by standing on his tip-toes while Whyte, who came in at 18st 1lb 4oz, played along by crouching down before they shook hands and traded caps.
They briefly danced on stage alongside one another as the music blared, having turned to face the assembled crowd, although a fired-up Fury insisted matters would be more serious when they next meet.
“I’m so happy to be back here (in the UK) fighting at Wembley Stadium,” said Fury, who was afforded a hero’s welcome on his entrance although Londoner Whyte was initially booed on to the stage.
“Respect to Dillian Whyte and his team, proper professional men, and we’re going to give you a real fight.
“Don’t doubt us, we’re going to put a show on like no other before.
“It’s going to be a war, don’t worry about that.”
Fury – who has suggested on more than one occasion in the build-up that he will retire after Saturday night, irrespective of the outcome – is fighting on UK soil for the first time since August 2018.
The 33-year-old (31-0-1, 22KOs) has had five successive bouts in the United States since then, including three against Wilder, winning twice and drawing once, to become world champion again.
In his last two bouts against Wilder, Fury weighed well in excess of 19st as he showcased his devastating power, particularly last October when he stopped the American in the 11th round.
But by coming in almost a stone lighter 24 hours before facing Whyte in front of an estimated 94,000 crowd – a post-war British record – Fury might look to outbox rather than overpower Whyte.
Fury has already hinted he could switch to a southpaw stance – as he did earlier in his career against Martin Rogan in 2012 and in his rematch versus Dereck Chisora two years later – in a bid to counteract the power of Whyte, who has won 28 of his 30 contests, 19 inside the distance.