Tyson Fury’s promoter Bob Arum watched his fighter turn in a heavyweight title defense for the ages Saturday. Fury, 33, delivered a vicious uppercut to score a sixth-round technical knockout of countryman Dillian Whyte in front of 94,000 at England’s Wembley Stadium.
And for all of Fury’s declarations that he would leave the sport following this bout, Arum knows there’s no way a fighter can walk away after thriving through a moment like that.
“No, he definitely won’t retire. Of course not. Are you crazy?” Arum told USA TODAY Sports+ minutes after Fury improved to 32-0-1 with 23 knockouts in the one-sided triumph.
MORE:Tyson Fury knocks out Dillian Whyte with huge uppercut to retain WBC heavyweight crown
Fury couldn’t even get out of the ring before hyping a potential next bout — a hybrid combat-sports event versus UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, who entered the Wembley ring afterward. Ngannou spoke of fighting Fury in lighter MMA-style gloves.
“I’m the boxing heavyweight champion. This is the UFC heavyweight champion. Is he in good shape? Look at the muscles on him,” Fury told the ESPN+ audience. “This is going to be one very special fight, like one never before seen in the sport. We’re not talking two light guys. It’s going to be an explosive fight when it happens.”
Ngannou responded, “I’m going to find out who is the baddest (man) on the planet. … It’s going to be a hybrid fight. MMA gloves, in the ring. Something different.”
Arum — who remained in the U.S. after showing COVID-19 symptoms recently — spoke on the phone to Fury as the champion rejoiced in the ring.
The veteran promoter of Las Vegas-based Top Rank said he believes it’s reasonable that Fury-Ngannou can happen because both Top Rank and the UFC have ESPN broadcast deals in place.
UFC President Dana White did not immediately respond to messages left by USA TODAY Sports+.
“I don’t know what (Ngannou’s) contract situation with the UFC is,” Arum said. “Obviously, it’d be a massive fight, and it should be easy to make.”
Arum plans to arrange a dinner meeting with Fury when the WBC champion arrives in Las Vegas in two weeks.
“We’ll have plenty of time to talk everything out,” said Arum.
With three-belt heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine preparing to stage his rematch against England’s former world champion Anthony Joshua in July, the calendar is open for Fury to participate in a novelty fight at the end of summer. Such a bout would follow the wildly popular 2017 boxing-UFC clash between Floyd Mayweather Jr. And Conor McGregor.
That event produced more than 4 million pay-per-view buys — second only to Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao two years earlier.
Ngannou’s dominance is rooted in his stand-up prowess, so there is interest in how an attack backed by the Cameroon fighter’s heavy punches would fare against Fury’s style.
Fury knocks out Whyte
Against Whyte, Fury relished returning to his motherland. He previously won three heavyweight belts by upsetting former champion Wladimir Klutschko in Germany in 2015, and reclaiming the WBC belt — twice stopping Deontay Wilder in America.
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Fury briefly sat on a king’s throne during his Wembley entrance before delivering a calculated performance that simply outclassed No. 1 contender Whyte (28-3).
After shrugging off Whyte’s attempt to confuse him by turning southpaw in the first round, Fury relied on his smarts, movement and activity to deflate the challenger as Whyte averaged less than five landed punches per round.
In the fourth round, an accidental clash of heads cut Whyte at the right eyebrow. Fury’s combinations were more effective than Whyte’s intent to set up one big punch that never arrived. The fighters were scolded for roughness in the corner when Fury’s brother appeared to splash Whyte in the back with water from a plastic bottle.
“This is not ballet dancing. This is heavyweight boxing,” Fury said. “He started coming in with the elbow, the forearm, whatnot. I’m a fighting man. This is what I do for a living.”
Earlier in the sixth, Whyte let rip a big right hand that missed Fury entirely as the challenger flailed toward the ropes in front of him.
“The presence he has, how smart he is … he’s an unbelievable physical specimen, but he’s also an extraordinarily intelligent, exciting boxer,” Arum said.
Fury landed 76 punches to Whyte’s 29, and — using his tree-like, 85-inch reach — he delivered 29 jabs to Whyte’s eight.
That precision dictated the finish. Fury peppered Whyte with a jab to the face then let a right uppercut fly upward, rocking Whyte square on the chin. Fury pushed his crashing countryman backward.
Both of Whyte’s arms were sprawled behind him on the canvas before he arose before the 10 count. Referee Mark Lyson spared him further punishment, waving the bout over with one second remaining in the sixth.
“I was touching him with the jab, breaking him up with the jab and check hook. I wanted to keep going downstairs with those hooks to the body and, at the right time, I was going to bring the right hand straight through the middle,” Fury said. “I saw (Whyte) slip back. He acted like a peach. Bang on the chin.
“I knew it was over.”
Fury said he begged Lyson to stop the fight.
“It’s those times, you take one more punch, you’re disabled,” Fury said.
With Fury’s victory, Arum revealed he has the champion signed for two more bouts in America. For Fury, Saturday night was all about the crowning homecoming.
“I’m one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, and, unfortunately, for Dillian Whyte, he had to face me tonight,” Fury said. “I’m the best fighter on the planet.”