Former Cruiserweight World Champion, Tony Bellew, has said that he thinks the occasion got the better of Dillian Whyte in his knockout loss to Tyson Fury this April.
Whyte had waited a long time for a shot at the WBC belt, but finally got his chance against ‘The Gypsy King’ in front of a reported crowd of 90,000 boxing fans. Despite some attempts at bamboozling Fury – including coming out southpaw in the first – Whyte was outclassed and stopped in the sixth round.
In his latest column for DAZN, Bellew says he thinks Whyte ‘froze’ in front of the Wembley crowd that night.
“That was a fight he had wanted for a very long time, and it couldn’t have gone any worse for him.
Dillian might not agree with me on this one, but I think he froze against Fury. Go back to the weeks leading into the fight and you won’t find a bigger backer of Dillian than me. What he showed that night was nothing like I expected, and I think the whole occasion, the entire build-up, and years of waiting for his shot just became too much for him.”
“You look at your typical Dillian fight and you see a fighter who is pushing from the word go. It’s fair to say he went up against a great fighter in Fury, but it just looked like Dillian was off the pace for some reason and I think he must remind people just how good he can be. That starts with Jermaine Franklin, and it’s a fight that can tell us a lot.”
Now, ‘The Bodysnatcher’ is on the comeback trail – and that begins with American heavyweight, Jermain Franklin. Bellew made it clear that he thinks Whyte must impress against the undefeated Franklin should he want to reach those Wembley heights once more.
“If Dillian struggles here or doesn’t look good winning, then it’s going to be a long road back to the top of the division and that will be a massive shame. Has waiting years for his big moment put too many miles on the clock? That’s a possibility, but if the Dillian that I know turns up on next month then. I think he put himself back in the mix again.”
Whyte faces Jermain Franklin on November 26 at Wembley Arena in London, broadcast live on DAZN.