Tyson Fury was stuck without an opponent at today’s press conference to promote his April 23 fight against Dillian Whyte, but as always, had plenty to say all by his lonesome, and brought it to an entertaining close.
Whyte (28-2, 19 KO) stuck to his position of not attending the presser, which Fury and promoter Frank Warren both had thoughts on.
“WBC put the fight out for negotiations against a mandatory challenger. We couldn’t agree terms, we went to purse bids, we won the purse bids. We then had to fulfill certain criteria, which we’ve done,” Warren said. “He then signed a contract, which he left right until the last minute before he put in. Now he’s trying to renegotiate. That’s why we had a period to agree terms! That’s where we’ve got to. One of the things was he wanted a private jet to fly him in and out today. But we said yesterday we’d do that. Then they started adding other stuff to it.”
Warren said that Whyte’s said didn’t even want his face on the promotional poster, which as always was the backdrop behind the stage.
“They didn’t even want us to use his photograph on a poster. ‘You cannot use his image rights.’ I’ve never heard anything like it in my life,” the promoter stated. “I’ve never heard of a fighter not showing up for a press conference for a big fight. He’s getting eight times more than Tyson got to fight Klitschko. Eight times more! It’s more than (Anthony) Joshua got paid to fight (Charles) Martin. He’s getting more than (Oleksandr) Usyk got to fight Joshua. Champions bank on themselves to win. You win the title, you get the money. The 20 percent is there.
“Any good fighters like Usyk did, went and beat Joshua, now he’s in the big time. (Andy) Ruiz done the same thing. Tyson done the same thing. That’s just not right. We are where we are, but Dillian Whyte isn’t. He’s in Portugal. He should be here. It’s disgraceful that he’s not here. It’s not professional. If somebody else had won a purse bid, we would have helped to make that work. He’d go to the press conference. This is madness.”
“I’m not concerned,” Fury said of Whyte’s absence. “This is the Tyson Fury Roadshow. The next stop is London. It’s never about the opponent. Whether it’s his face on there or somebody else’s, it really isn’t important. It’s ugly, anyway, we should take it down. It’s about (Tyson Fury), and celebrating his legacy and his boxing career, and celebrating on the biggest stage the world can get, really. It doesn’t matter if it’s Dillian Whyte, Joe Joyce, Derek Chisora, Anthony Joshua, Usyk, it doesn’t really matter. Wherever we stop next, it’s always going to be the Tyson Fury Roadshow.”
Later, Fury shared further thoughts on Whyte not showing up to the presser, saying, “I thought he would have came here to be a part of big-time boxing. He’s never been involved in a fight of this magnitude ever, and never likely to be involved in a fight of this magnitude ever again. I would have thought he would have come here, sapped up all the experience, took it all in because it’s his moment in the sun. But if he doesn’t want to get involved in that, that’s his business.”
“I think it messes up his legacy a little bit, as well,” he continued. “In years to come, if it’s a really good fight, which I anticipate it will be, he didn’t have any involvement in the build-up, the media. He won’t be in any photographs, there will be no old magazines to look at, that sort of thing. I think it’s a shame not just for him, but for his kids and his family to look back on in time. This is a promoter’s argument. This is not the boxers. This is his promoter telling him, ‘Don’t get involved in any media, don’t sell the fight, don’t do anything, you can’t make any more money.’ But surely at this level, it’s about him as a fighter. It’s not just about promoting a fight. It’s about being here, being active, being a part of this. At the end of the day, his face is up there, whether he wants it to be or not. He should be here promoting the fight. That’s my opinion.”
Fury (31-0-1, 22 KO) will be making the third defense of the WBC title that he took from Deontay Wilder in 2020, and it will mark eight defenses of the “lineal” crown, if you believe in such a thing, dating back to Fury’s win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.
“I’m looking to show the people and the boxing fraternity how good I really am,” he said. “What better opponent do it against than the man who’s been calling for the fight for 352 years? He finally gets his shot on the biggest stage against the biggest champion on the biggest night. I will not fail. I’m just going to show you how great I really am. I beat men like him seven days a week and 62 times on a Sunday.”
At the end of it all, Fury managed to do a one-man stare down with the image of Whyte on the promotional poster, even “turning to the front” after the “face to face,” and inviting Warren in to separate the two.
It was, at least today, definitely the Tyson Fury Roadshow.
More quotes from Tyson Fury
“It’s been an absolute roller coaster of a ride. I’ve been across the Atlantic ocean in the exotic venues. I feel like the Thin Lizzy song, ‘The Boys Are Back in Town.’ Four years away and I get to come back and showcase on the world’s biggest stage at Wembley Stadium with 100,000 people there. I’m putting it on so the fans can come. Not everybody was able to come to Las Vegas. For the people who stayed up until 5 in the morning to watch the fights (in the UK). Now they can come and enjoy an event on home soil and be a part of history.”
“I believe it’s the biggest British heavyweight fight probably since Lewis-Bruno (in 1993). There hasn’t been a bigger one since. An all-British showdown for the WBC heavyweight championship of the world. I know Dillian Whyte’s going to come in prepared, come in rugged and rough and game and aggressive. He’s got a big left hook, a big right hand — who knows, it could be me chinned on the night! I think both fighters are going for the knockout in this fight. I think I’ll land one bomb on his jaw and it’s going to be over. It could be in round one, it could be in round six. I don’t think it’ll go past seven.”
“He’s no different to many of the other opponents I’ve fought in my career. They’re all dangerous, they’ve all got a puncher’s chance, and they all want to win. They know that riches and glory await a victory. I always put a lot of pressure on myself. If I can’t look like Muhammad Ali boxing this guy, I’m in the wrong position and I’m not as good as I think I am. I will chop him to bits, not a problem. I will smash his face right in. You’re gonna see a boxing master class. You’re going to see the difference in levels. There’s levels to this game. Not saying Dillian Whyte’s not capable of winning a fight, because he’s won nearly 30 fights, but there’s a gulf in class here. This man is a big ol’ strong fella who can swing a big ol’ hard punch and knock a man out. But if I’m daft enough to get hit by him and knocked out, then I don’t deserve to be world heavyweight champion.”
“He’s getting the biggest payday of his life. He should be here kissing my feet and washing my feet. I’m giving him (the biggest payday) he’ll ever get in his life. He’s very lucky that he’s in my era. He’s very lucky to be receiving this amount of money! The only thing he’s ever won is a British title, and he’s been banging on how we’re all scared of him. But I’ve given him a new name, anyway. He’s called Frilly in Whyte Knickers, OK? It’s not Dillian Whyte, it’s Frilly in Whyte Knickers. Because he’s as soft as what it says in the title. He has shown the white flag today.”
“It’s fear. It’s terror. It’s all of the above. I don’t blame him for not being here today. Because if he was here, I would have probably stretched him at the press conference. The build-up of this fight I think will be fantastic. Tyson Fury vs his own shadow sells. I will make sure people are entertained. So if anyone wants to sing, dance, come down here, we’ll do it. There’s the offer.”
“I’m very confident. Very over-confident. People say, ‘Oh, he’s a down to Earth fella.’ I’m not a down to Earth fella. I’m an on top of the world fella. I’m an all or nothing type of guy. If I’m training for a fight, I believe I’m going to win it one billion percent. There’s not even one percent doubt I’m not going to annihilate Dillian Whyte. Even when I’ve been a heavy underdog, I’ve never had a doubt I’m losing. That’s my biggest asset, confidence. At this, the latter end of my career, long in the tooth as I am, I’m nearly 34 years old, I would never, never let that go away from me. I have to be supremely confident in my own ability, which I am. I believe I can beat Dillian Whyte with one hand tied behind my back and one foot off the floor.”
“Most of the greats were already finished at my age, or they’d been beaten. I’ve come close a few times, but when I’ve had to deliver I have. It’s come a long way. I started out as the brash, over-confident kid, the pretender nobody thought could do anything. I was a disaster waiting to happen. I’ve changed that all, I’ve become world champion twice and overcome all the odds, even when they were stacked against me. I overcame a lot. I think the latter end of my career has been so much more tasty than the first half. The comeback has been so much more fulfilling to me, because I’ve had so much more to come, a bigger story to tell. It’s been a grand slam, Hollywood slam dunk of a career. It’s been a fantastic journey.”