FIGHT WEEK IS now upon us and the Fury festivities are about to begin.
As Queensberry’s eminent Master of Ceremonies Thomas Trieber likes to say, ‘The time has arrived’, and so it has. The WBC Heavyweight Championship of the World blockbuster between the champion Tyson Fury and his London rival – and mandatory challenger – Dillian Whyte.
The status of Lineal champion is also on the line, along with the coveted Ring Magazine heavyweight belt. The famous publication have reminded us all that this is the first time the belt has been defended on UK soil since 1966 when Muhammad Ali defeated Brian London via a third round KO, shortly after Wembley staged England’s World Cup triumph.
Words rather than punches will be traded for the first time on Wednesday when Fury and Whyte come together for the official press conference. The champion won’t have the stage to himself this time because Whyte has now joined the party and is never one to be lost for words.
On Tuesday the fighters will gather at Wembley BoxPark to be put through their paces at a media workout as the fight week build-up begins in earnest.
This is quite simply the biggest fight in boxing and the eyes of the world will be on Wembley Stadium for a domestic dust-up that will dominate the news agenda this weekend.
Fittingly, for a battle between two proud Englishmen, the fight falls on St George’s Day and the nation will be transfixed as we find out who will be St George and who will be the Dragon.
Fury is making what will be his second defence of his WBC crown on the night, having seized the belt from former champion Deontay Wilder in the second of the trilogy sequence. He previously held the WBA, WBO and IBF titles following his outfoxing of longstanding champion Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015.
Whyte is the governing body’s Interim champion, having won the belt with victory over Oscar Rivas back in July 2019 and then winning back from Alexander Povetkin following a shock reverse against the Russian that delayed his full championship charge.
So much is at stake, not least pride, when Fury and Whyte take a long walk to the ring on Saturday. Then there is what comes next for the winner. If Whyte prevails, after years of knocking on the door, the Heavyweight Kingdom will be his.
For Fury, who has talked of retirement, there is the prospect of taking on the winner of the forthcoming Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua rematch for every prize in the division.
It would provide confirmation, if any were needed, of his status as the undisputed No.1 heavyweight in the world. Would this be enough to head off the pipe and slippers? We hope so.
Perhaps performing in front of 94,000 fans and the adulation that goes with it will leave him wanting more of the same.
Fury v Whyte is not the only show in town for the fans who take their seats early or tune in to BT Sport Box Office from 6pm.
Anthony Cacace is considered by many as the premier super featherweight operating in the UK. The Belfast man has endured a stop-start career to date, with this being mostly due to domestic contenders taking up other options.
As he pointed out himself, his rivals all talked about wanting to win the British title before he won it himself and now there is silence on the subject.
So Cacace is heading along the route to world honours with a shot at the vacant WBO International title against Jonathan Romero, a former IBF world champion with a formidable record of 34-1.
Taking ownership of this belt will put the winner right in the frame for a tilt at full world title honours.
The prestigious WBC Silver title is on the line for another explosive scrap between super featherweights Isaac Lowe and Nick Ball.
These two only know one way and that is to fight and provide entertainment value.
The more experienced Lowe, 28, has been on the cusp of world title action for some time and suffered a setback last time out in a final eliminator for a shot at the WBC title. He is jumping right back into the fire by taking on the unbeaten Ball, 25, who is desperate to show the world what he is all about.
Ball, from Liverpool, has also been put forward to challenge for the vacant British title and is known to be a ferocious operator.
Tommy Fury, brother of Tyson, makes it a real family affair tonight by having his eighth professional fight on the bill at light heavyweight, where he takes on the 10-1 Daniel Bocianski. It is a step up fight for Fury who intends to show people that his boxing is his career of choice and his reality TV days are behind him.
Heavyweight Big D, Ladbroke Grove banger David Adeleye will be looking to show why he could be a future face of boxing’s marquee division. Adeleye is 8-0 having turned professional with Frank Warren at the end of 2019.
Two of the finest prospects in British boxing also feature on the card. At light heavyweight, Karol Itauma, just 20, is an eight-time National amateur champion and 2018 Olympic Youth gold medallist.
The Slovakian-born elite prospect beat world and European youth champion Ruslan Kolesnikov to claim the gold in Argentina at the 2018 Games, avenging a defeat in his first international tournament against the Russian.
He made his professional debut in December 2020 and has four KOs from his six wins.
Royston Barney-Smith is a two-time European championship gold medallist, who turned 18 on January 4 and turned professional with Queensberry.
He enjoyed a glittering stint in the amateur code of the sport, with 50 fights under his belt bringing about 45 wins. The product of Pinewood Starr represented England at four international championships and sported the colours of his country on 37 occasions, winning 36.
A right-handed southpaw, Barney-Smith won gold at both the 2017 and 2018 Europeans, also collecting bronze in 2019. His gold medal exploits limited his participation in National championships, where he has two successes to his name.
Irish Tokyo Olympian Kurt Walker completes the card. The 27-year-old just missed out on a medal but his exploits caught the eye of Top Rank, who signed up the man from Lisburn in Northern Ireland who won gold medals at the 2018 EU Championships and 2019 European Games, silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and bronze at the 2017 European Championships.
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