JEFF POWELL: Dillian Whyte must come through Tyson Fury's mind games

JEFF POWELL: Dillian Whyte may have a date with destiny on Saturday but his first challenge is overcoming Tyson Fury’s mind games… he’s avoided it so far, but the Gypsy King has a knack for getting under the skin of opponents

  • Dillian Whyte takes on heavyweight rival Tyson Fury at Wembley on Saturday
  • The Body Snatcher has kept himself out of the public eye in his preparations
  • The pair are set to come face to face in Wednesday’s final press conference
  • Fury the flamboyant showman has a reputation for getting under his rival’s skin 

Dillian Whyte has a date with destiny on Saturday night. Prior to that he has an appointment with a brain specialist.

One he has been putting off for several weeks. Some say for fear of being driven crazy even though the consultant in question says: ‘I’m not Doctor X.’

Tyson Fury, having conducted single-handedly an oddly minimal amount of promotional work for their world heavyweight title fight, will be waiting for Whyte to join him on stage at Wednesday’s final media conference.

Dillian Whyte (right) must come through Tyson Fury’s (left) mind games before their huge fight

‘I hope he comes,’ says the Gypsy King of the Body Snatcher. ‘But even if he doesn’t, I’m certain he will turn up on Saturday. If he didn’t, he would be an idiot. With all the millions he’s getting. If I had been drinking every night and eating crap all day I would still go and take the money.’

Is Whyte really in greater trepidation of meeting the undefeated giant who holds the WBC and lineal world titles in front of cameras and microphones than he might be in the ring at a stadium packed with the biggest crowd in British boxing history?

He has said not, adding: ‘This is the biggest fight of my life, so I’ve stayed totally focussed on training at my camp in Portugal.’

Fury the flamboyant showman does have a reputation for getting under the skin of opponents. Although he insists that is not the purpose of his rantings and ravings, that they are simply to sell the fight.

‘People always say I am a master of mind games,’ he says. ‘But I don’t do that intentionally. I just talk, Sometimes it’s a load of old rubbish. Sometimes it’s good stuff. Usually it’s entertaining. A lot fighters do have the fear factor that I’m going to get inside their heads. But how can I get into someone’s brain? I’m not a doctor. Just a boxer.’

Fury pretended to have a face-off with Whyte who was a no-show in the first press conference

However he does sense that Whyte has been thinking himself into a corner: ‘He has stayed quiet and away from the build up to the fight to try stop me getting to him. But by not getting involved he’s shown me that I am in his mind already. I know he has been thinking hard about me.’

Fury does have ‘something planned for fun’ when they come face to face. He offers no clue as to what exactly he might add to his repertoire of pre-fight stunts, of which he says: ‘The Batman impersonation is my favourite. I’d always wanted to try that and the Klitschko fight was the perfect opportunity.’

Wladimir Klitschko, the long-reigning heavyweight champion now engaged in a horribly different fight alongside his elder brother Vitaly who is mayor of Kyiv, was rattled by those antics before losing his world titles to Fury.

The real key to that upset victory was the elusive brilliance with which Fury fought in Germany. He knows it, saying: ‘It’s all very well being brash and confident but you have to back it up in the ring. Some fighters who are supposed to be confident characters can’t back up the talk in the fight.’

Fury dressed as Batman and wrestled with a man dressed as Joker in the build-up to his fight with Wladimir Klitschko 

Of that, Fury cannot be accused. Nor, despite all the colourful banter about pitching up for big fights after late nights on the booze, does he shirk his own preparations.

While Whyte was isolating on a Portuguese hillside, the Gypsy King was resisting every temptation to drop in at home from his training base within jogging distance in Morecambe. He reports: ‘I moved out of our house to another one four miles up the road, just around Morecambe Bay. Not once in the eight-week camp did I pop back. I didn’t see any of the family, didn’t even go past our house on my runs along the bay.

‘My wife Paris (mother of their six children) has had to fill in for all the school runs and bin-days which I usually do.’

For his last five fights in four years – all in the US and including the epic trilogy with Deontay Wilder – Fury set up camp in Las Vegas where he now has a second home. 

Whyte has kept himself to himself in the build-up to the fight to avoid any possible distractions

He says: ‘It doesn’t matter if I’m across the Atlantic or round the corner, I have to concentrate on the fight. It’s not that difficult. When you’re working hard the eight weeks fly by.’

For light relief he has been ‘playing a lot of golf’ and says with a chuckle: ‘I’ve been building up even more punching power by hitting drives 400 yards.’ Not that he’s taken his eye off the proverbial ball.

‘I’ve kept in my mind,’ he says, ‘that Dillian is one of the top five heavyweights in the world. He will be No 1 if he beats me. He’s been waiting all those thousand or more days for his title shot and he’s earned his chance.’

But he does remind his challenger: ‘Most of those 94,000 in the stadium will be there to see me and I don’t want to disappoint them. I intend giving them the drama, the spectacle and the excitement they deserve. The thrills they expect from heavyweight boxing.’

The doctor is in. Knock-out drops at the ready.

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