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Boxing: Johnny Nelson on Tyson Fury v Dillian Whyte

The ego has landed.

Dillian Whyte has finally landed in the UK after his silence, which has been deafening for Tyson Fury in the build-up to this fight. Has he been smart in doing it? I think so. He’s got to fight fire with fire. He’s got to fight Tyson Fury with his own smarts.

He knows he’s not going to be able to out-talk and mentally out-manoeuvre Tyson Fury, so he’s doing the right thing, all he can do is stay in training camp, train hard, and not play the game, not get emotionally involved, because that’s exactly what Tyson Fury wants.

He wants his opponent to be emotionally involved, to draw them in to that argument, because if you can conjure up hate, they can start fighting with their heart and not their head. And Tyson Fury is the king at doing that.

So what Whyte has done is kept quiet. Fury’s the one who’s turned up to the press conferences and he’s the one who’s had to entertain the press and entertain the public. He’s had to talk about a fighter who’s not there. Fury is probably the only fighter apart from Muhammad Ali who can actually hold court with the press and feel comfortable doing it.

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How does Tyson Fury beat Dillian Whyte? The master manipulator, he’s smart, he knows the game, and he knows how to box.

People think being an unorthodox fighter is a bad thing; it’s a brilliant thing. Fury can come out southpaw comfortably, shoot you with a nice fast jab. Not hard, but fast.

What happens is, when you do that and you try walk into the shot, you think ‘it doesn’t hurt, I’m going do that again’ – bam! – ‘that doesn’t hurt, I’ll do that again’ – bam! – he’s rat-a-tat-tatting you, making you so angry that you go to rush him and he’ll pivot and step out of the way, push you into the ropes and make you off balance.

Once you’re off balance, he chases you down and hits you off balance. Your ego is thinking ‘no, this guy isn’t hurting me, I just can’t get him’ and you’re constantly making the same mistake.

We saw Deontay Wilder do that three times. He didn’t learn after three times, he kept making the same mistake.

Tyson Fury is the master of it. This guy can box, he can fight, and he’s comfortable doing either. He’s even comfortable when you hit him, because he’ll smile and think ‘alright, I’ll have some of that’.

He knows the fight game, he’ll punch, he’ll box, he’s happy to box all night using speed, southpaw and orthodox, getting you angry. The angrier he gets you, the easier the fight becomes for him.

The only way you can beat him is by respecting him, and he knows you don’t respect him. He’ll talk to you while you’re fighting, he’ll put his hands down and slip and you’ll be in front of him. You look at this big huge figure and think ‘I can get him’; you can’t. You’ve got to respect him. Fury knows you don’t do that, which is why he can box, and bash, and he’s successful at it.

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How does Dillian Whyte beat Tyson Fury? He’s got to do what he does, he’s got to stay in tight.

Fury’s tall and rangy and he’ll box sharp. He’s got to think ‘this guy’s unorthodox, I’ve got to respect what’s in front of me, I’ve got to get close enough where I don’t smother my own work, because if I get too close, this guy’s going to lean on me and push me down.’

He’s got to be close enough that he can push him off in the chest, then drop the shots in. He’s got to get Fury complaining to the referee, because in doing that, it means Fury’s not comfortable with what’s happening.

Remember, Fury can box as well as fight. Whyte needs to get Fury to the point where Fury is having to fight. Then you match him fight for fight. He’s never going to out-box Fury, that’s never going to happen in a million years, but he can out-fight Fury.

He’s been there and he needs to bring back the Whyte of old the one that had that rugged edge about him, but the knowledge of thinking ‘I’ve had experience of what not to do in a fight.’

If he’s rugged and up tight and up close, pushes, bullies, and gets to the point where Fury knows he’s got something to handle in front of him, then he wins the fight, but he’s got to be smart.

Do not try and out-box Tyson Fury, because you’ll lose. But out-fight him, that’s what you can do.

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