LONDON (AP) – What could be the final blow to Tyson Fury’s controversial boxing career, smashed into Dillian Whyte’s chin and sent him to the canvas, and one of his teeth flew through the air.
Fury raised his right hand in celebration, knowing that nothing would come back from an uppercut that was apparently felt around Wembley Stadium.
And that was probably not there.
With a brutal finish in the final seconds of the sixth round, Fury Whyte – his British and former sparring partner – defeated in front of more than 94,000 fans inside England’s national football stadium to remain undefeated with the 32nd victory in his professional 33 matches. career.
And that, said the 33-year-old Fury, could be it.
“This may be the last curtain for the gypsy king,” Fury said in the ring with his WBC and Ring Magazine belts around his shoulders. “What a way to go out.”
He was not quite done there. A born entertainer, Fury gave the greatest capacity ever to a boxing match in the UK a now well-known post-fight rendition of Don McLean’s “American Pie”.
He celebrated it with his team and posed for pictures with children wearing the red-and-white colors of the English flag on St. George’s Day.
Fury perhaps soaked his last moments in a ring after 14 years as a professional. For his last fight – or so he says – he gave a clinic.
After a gripping trilogy with Deontay Wilder in the US, Whyte was a big step-down for Fury, who mostly played with his compatriot after upgrading him in a couple of opening rounds.
Fury had control of the match without really making an effort until the fifth round, which he dominated. A body shot and then a straight right shook Whyte back and got the crowd going.
At what turned out to be the final round, Whyte began to breathe heavier and got a cut around his right eye – potentially from a collision between heads.
Whyte – the longtime mandatory challenger – was mostly ruthless with some big but headstrong shots. He tried to play hard and get in Fury’s head while hoping to get one big blow to make him a superstar from one day to the next.
Eventually it came from Fury’s right hand, which caused Whyte to collapse to the canvas.
Whyte finally got up and tried to show that he was ready to continue, but then faltered against the ropes, which led to the referee ending the match.
Fury called it a “Wembley Stadium show stopper.”
“He’s as strong as a bull and has the heart of a lion,” Fury said of Whyte, “but tonight he met a great man in the sport, one of the greatest heavyweights ever.
“I think,” Fury added, “even Lennox Lewis would be proud of that uppercut.”
If he retires, Fury will go down as the biggest British heavyweight and surpass Lewis.
What can still make him continue is the chance to become the undisputed champion from what could become a hugely lucrative match against Oleksandr Usyk or Anthony Joshua.
Usyk beat Joshua in September last year to take the WBA, IBF and WBO belts and is preparing for a rematch with Joshua after leaving his home country Ukraine, where he helped his country in the war with Russia.
That’s all Fury would have left to claim among the current crop of heavyweights in an average era for the sport’s marquee department, which would be a quieter place without the 6-foot-9 Briton whose mouths and opinions have got him in trouble over the years.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before – I messed up my ring walk!” said Fury, who came out in a red-and-white dress and kissed the audience before fireworks lit up Wembley.
He jogged to the ring and sat down on a throne. Then he showed that he was the king of the heavyweights, at least far too good for Whyte.
“He was not just fighting a world champion in this game,” Fury said. “I’m a legend … what a way to top it all off.”
Just to be sure, Fury was asked one last time: Is that really it?
“I certainly think so,” he said.
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Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80