Tyson Fury and fight promoter Frank Warren of Queensberry, along with Brad Jacobs from Top Rank, today met the media to signal the official launch of his mandatory defence against Dillian Whyte on April 23 under the famous arch at Wembley Stadium.
Challenger Whyte from Brixton, London, opted not to attend and remained at his training base in Portugal, leaving the No.1 heavyweight in the world with the stage to himself in front of the assembled world media.
Hall of Fame promoter Warren conveyed his obvious delight over staging the biggest event of the year but, however, expressed his disappointment over the no-show of Whyte and explained the circumstances behind his absence.
“We entered a world record purse bid for the fight and here we are with largest purses ever paid to British boxers to fight on UK soil. I am delighted, we are at Wembley and it doesn’t get any better than this.
“It will be a fantastic night of boxing and will be a sell-out with just under a 100,000 capacity. It will be a special night because you have got the WBC champion, the Lineal champion who has not fought here in nearly four years.
“Tickets go on sale tomorrow at noon and it is going to be phenomenal. All we needed was for the other side of the card to show up. We ticked all the boxes and he signed a contract that he left right until the last minute. Then he tries to renegotiate.
“One of the things was he wanted a private jet to fly him in and out today and we agreed to that in writing. Then they tried to add other stuff to it and didn’t even want to let us use his photograph on the poster. I’ve never heard of anything like it in my life. He is getting eight times more than Tyson got to fight Klitschko, more than Joshua got to fight Martin and more than Usyk got to fight Joshua.
“Champions bank on themselves to win, that’s what they do. If you win the title you get the money. We are where we are, but Dillian Whyte is in Portugal and it is disgraceful that he is not here. It is not professional and, if somebody else had won the purse bid, we would have helped to make that work. It is madness.”
Ahead of a second defence of his WBC world heavyweight title, Tyson Fury made light of his missing opponent.
“It has been an absolute roller coaster of a ride,” said the Gypsy King. “I’ve been across the Atlantic fighting at exotic venues and now I feel like the song by Thin Lizzy ‘The boys are back in Town’. After four years away I get to come back on the world’s biggest stage at Wembley Stadium.
“I am putting on for those who travelled out to Las Vegas and the fans who stayed up until 5am to watch on BT Sport. Now they can come and watch on home soil and be a part of history. People will be talking about this event, saying ‘where were you when this happened on that night of 23 April 2022?’ in years to come. When Tyson Fury smashed this fella to pieces in front of home fans in the UK.
“There hasn’t been a bigger fight since Lewis-Bruno, an all-British showdown for the WBC heavyweight championship of the world.
“It will be a fantastic event and I know Dillian Whyte is going to come in prepared. He will be rugged, rough, game and aggressive. Both fighters are going for the knockout in this fight and when I land the Lancaster Bomber on his jaw it is going to be over.
“I am looking to put on an excellent showcase of knockout boxing in front of the UK fans and then sing a load of songs afterwards! Time to party on down in the Big Smoke!
“I am not concerned about Dillian not being here because this is the Tyson Fury Roadshow.”
Brad Jacobs of Top Rank added: “Whyte is certainly a credible threat and is one of the top available contenders. It is unprofessional that he is not here today but we will get past that and move on. Everyone is second best to Tyson, in the ring, in personality, in everything.”