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Fury v Whyte: The numbers behind WBC title battle at Wembley

| 20.03.2022

When is Fury v Whyte?

After months of speculation and negotiation we finally have a date for the long-awaited heavyweight title clash between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte. On Sunday April 23, both men will make their first ever appearance at Wembley Stadium to compete for the WBC belt.

Here we have broken down the key numbers behind the fight, looking back at their respective strengths and styles in their recent bouts for clues to how this encounter will play out and to help find the best bets in the Fury v Whyte odds.

Tale of the tape

The two fighters are a similar age and with a similar number of professional fights behind them: Whyte is four months older and will turn 34 a few weeks before they meet in the ring.

Physically the differences are more obvious. Fury is four inches taller than Whyte and possesses a seven-inch reach advantage over his opponent. He looks set to weigh in even heavier than his career high of 273 pounds in his most recent fight against Deontay Wilder which, coupled with his size advantage, represents a formidable challenge.

While Whyte has defeated taller opponents such as Mariusz Wach and Robert Helenius, neither are as large or as accomplished as Fury.

How do Fury and Whyte’s fighting styles compare?

Fury has promised that this will be his most aggressive display to date and indicated that he will be looking to secure an early knockout.

The statistics from their three most recent full-length bouts suggests that both men have been relying more on power punches lately, with each fight seeing a higher proportion than the last. The share of jabs thrown by Fury has been dropping noticeably since his first encounter with the Bronze Bomber in 2018 ended his perfect winning record.

In that initial meeting, power punches accounted for around three in every 10 thrown by the Gypsy King, but in their trilogy fight the proportions were reversed. Whyte, meanwhile, remains more reliant on his jab to open up his opponents, but in his most recent fight with Alexander Povetkin continued an upward trend in big swings attempted.

Fury has been the more productive fighter in general during the pair’s recent outings, throwing an average of 3.5 more punches per round and – more crucially – landing over two more.

While Whyte has had to absorb less punishment – soaking up an average of 4.6 connecting punches per round to his large rival’s 7.8 – this may owe more to the quality of opposition rather than superior agility. However, if the smaller fighter can indeed present a smaller target then he could outlast a heavier-than-usual Fury.

Third round could be key

Keeping our focus on the punching data from their three most recent 12-round fights, we can see that the accuracy of both men has built up to a third-round peak. Fury in particular has seen a significant boost from just under 27% of punches landing in the opening round to over 39% in the third, so if he is to deliver on his promise of an early knockout then that appears to be the optimum window.

However, with the Body Snatcher also connecting with a higher share of punches in this round than the previous two – almost 33% – then this could also represent his best chance of an upset if he can catch out an over-eager Fury.

How long will Fury v Whyte last?

While Fury has indicated that he will be looking to stop Whyte early, the evidence from each man’s last 10 full-length fights suggests otherwise.

Nine of the Gypsy King’s last 10 professional bouts that were scheduled to last 12 rounds were settled in the seventh round or later, with the exception being his second-round win over Tom Schwarz in June 2019.

While Whyte’s two recent meetings with Povetkin were both over relatively quickly – in the fourth and fifth rounds – his eight other full-length contests went at least as far as the sixth round and four were settled by the scorecards.

Whoever comes out on top in Fury v Whyte at Wembley will set up a unification fight with the winner of Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk. With that bout likely to happen in May, there is plenty of time for 2022 to deliver the first undisputed heavyweight world champion since Lennox Lewis over two decades ago.

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Author

Warren Barner