He sang to Don McLean, he danced to Kings of Leon, he walked with armoured knights to a golden throne. And then, after all that, Tyson Fury brought 94,000 to their feet and dropped one on his backside.
It was a beauty, really. An uppercut mined from hell and driven through the chin of Dillian Whyte, a challenger who had waited years to have his chance. A dubious honour, if ever there was one.
When it was done, and Whyte had finally found some balance and his senses, Fury went over and gave him a warm hug. Violence to affection in a blink; just another contradiction from boxing’s best heavyweight and man who continues to serve as sport’s greatest riddle.
Tyson Fury dominated Dillian Whyte before knocking him out in the sixth round at Wembley
Fury celebrated the victory in typical fashion as he retained his belt and his unbeaten run
First, to the boxer and the boxing. Because on that front, Fury rarely drops points, and he certainly didn’t here. It was a procession. Boring for the large part, but boxing can look that way in the early rounds when the gulf is so great between a bigger, exceptional technician and a more limited, smaller slugger. And so it was – Whyte swung from the hips, Fury prodded at the man coming in, too good to fall into any real danger.
There wasn’t much action but there didn’t need to be – through five rounds, Fury had barely taken a hit and was five up. Into the sixth, where he uncorked something special and his WBC world title had been defended. Good for him; hard realities for Whyte, who first went to the top of the queue in November 2017.
And how they all yelled, this crowd. Say what you like, and Fury usually does, but he knows how to pull in the numbers. The 94,000 was a record, but it was also proof, once more, that in the dirty business of boxing, not much will get in the way of a decent punch-up.
Fury was by far the better boxer as Whyte struggled before the sixth-round knockout
The Gypsy King landed a brutal uppercut to secure victory over the Body Snatcher
Which takes us to Fury the man. The man whose fans will follow him to the ends of the earth and beyond the edge of reason, as well. And perhaps that is a point worth focusing on, if we may spoil the mood a moment. He is a fighter of tremendous gifts but also one of vast influence, and so we have to consider the other storyline to his week. The Daniel Kinahan one.
You’ll know about him by now, and what credible law enforcement agencies say he has done. What they call him. How much they are willing to pay to get him in a cage.
But then there’s Fury, with his two million followers on Twitter and five million on Instagram. How are we to view a man who once posted ‘Dan for PM’? Or that time he celebrated Kinahan’s role in brokering two aborted fights with Anthony Joshua? Or the picture they posed for together in February of this year?
Kinahan was once his advisor but no more, apparently. Not since 2020. Certainly, Fury has attempted to minimise that arrangement in the past week, or has on those occasions when he has discussed it. ‘My business is my business,’ as he put it in one of his media sessions.
Kinahan and WBC heavyweight champion Fury were photographed in Dubai two months ago
Kinahan was paid £1m each for fights including Fury’s two bouts with Deontay Wilder
Bob Arum says Kinahan is still the brains behind Fury’s management company MTK Global – which ceased operations this week
But it is the detail of that business that scrambles the senses, like that uppercut into Whyte’s face, maybe. Specifically, it is the detail ofone particular revelation from Bob Arum in the past week, when he claimed Kinahan was paid $1million in consultation fees for every one of Fury’s last four fights. Of course, Arum’s damascene conversion on the topic of Kinahan over the past month could fill a book, but that is quite a statement.
Fury has since stressed that he had no knowledge of those transactions, and that crucially it was Arum’s money, not his. We should add also that there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Fury. But it is somewhat uncomfortable to think a man facing such serious allegations as Kinahan was apparently making those sums from Fury’s fights.
Just as it was uncomfortable when Fury would not engage in a full and mature discussion on the topic. Just as it was uncomfortable when he failed a drugs test himself a few years back. Just as it was uncomfortable when he made those various discriminatory remarks way back when.
That has always been his soundtrack – distasteful and questionable one side of his coin, gifted beyond all comers on the other. To focus only on one, either one, would be to ignore a bigger picture.